What’s Wrong With Retrofit Windows in Condos and HOAs?

Sometimes people who cannot see from both sides of the window disagree without fully understanding why. Here is an example, with the “why”.

The question: “I want to replace my windows with vinyl double-pane windows. The HOA property manager says we cannot do retrofit, which is $1000 less expensive, that we have to do new construction, which involves removing the siding all around the window, fitting a special window into the opening, and replacing the siding. The installer said he had never heard such a thing and that it seemed the HOA was trying to put some of the siding maintenance cost onto the owner. The HOA claims they have had dry rot issues with windows installed with retrofit. They have a ‘moratorium’ on door/window replacement so I was unable to earn last year’s $1500 tax credit. That’s a big loss. I have submitted an Architectural Change Request to the Board, the meeting is next week, and I’m trying to discover if it’s legal for the HOA to force me to buy more expensive windows? Is it legal for them to prevent me from installing windows? What are my rights and how can I effectively fight for what seems like a reasonable request? Any information you can provide would be so appreciated!!!”

I feel for ya. It would be nice to save the $1000, get your tax credit and have everything go swimmingly. However, if you still own the property when the building needs siding replacement, are you going to be willing to pay to have the windows removed so the building can be resided? And have them reinstalled after the siding is replaced? Do you want to pay the cost of the same kind of treatment for all retrofit windows that are installed in your complex (along with your neighbors of course)? This can be a very big expense. The contractors and reserve preparers I have heard speak at maintenance seminars I have been to talk about such things. As I understand it from listening to the condo building experts, the retrofit windows, while they look nice and are less expensive, create all kinds of problems. Maybe your installer doesn’t know that.

And, most HOA and Condo documents have architectural control restrictions which enable them to control the type of windows that are allowed.

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2 Responses to What’s Wrong With Retrofit Windows in Condos and HOAs?
  1. Fred Zambano
    April 22, 2011 | 9:26 pm

    Can the president of an HOA get the mailing list ( names and addresses of owners) without the permission of the board, for the sole purpose of getting votes to enhance his chance of winning, Fred

    • Beth Grimm
      April 24, 2011 | 1:35 am

      In California any member of the association is entitled to be able to address the members with their views on an election – including a candidate wishing to run for the board. If the list is provided to one candidate, then it must be provided to all with opposing views. However, the association board may, alternatively to providing the mailing list, require that owner use a mailing house instead with the board providing the labels for the mailing to the mailing house, not the owner. And owners can opt out of the mailing list if any is provided to owners. See Civil Code Section 1365.2 and Corporations Code Section 8330 et seq.