I would like to know more about the protections that exist to prevent purchasers from being hit with unexpected costs and assessments. In previous Q&As, you have mentioned the need for a complex-wide conditions assessment as part of the valuation of the property. What would such an assessment entail, and when would it take place?
A condition assessment is a major element of a condominium offering plan. It is performed and certified by an engineer or architect Elements surveyed are prescribed by the Attorney General’s regulations governing condominium offering plans. They include foundation and structural elements of buildings, such as facades, roofs, windows and doors, plumbing, heating, gas and electrical systems, as well as common area elements including sidewalks and landscaping.
The experts will investigate, among other things, whether roofs, floors, walls, foundations and all other structural components are in proper condition; whether plumbing systems are installed and maintained in a safe and sanitary condition, free of defects, leaks and obstructions; whether the roof, exterior walls, windows, and doors prevent water leakage into living areas; and whether the plumbing system leaks, clogs often, or requires frequent repair. Additional investigations may be made of moisture or cracking in floors and ceilings, sidewalk conditions, and landscape conditions.
An assessment of an 80-acre, 110-building community is a detailed, lengthy process, but is essential. The engineer’s report will be included in the condominium offering plan, and must be completed and certified within 90 days prior to the date that the offering plan is submitted to the Attorney General. Based on the conditions assessment, a capital improvement plan will be developed that includes a budget and priorities for work to be done, which will also be included in the offering plan. Adequate reserve funds, as prescribed by law, would be set up from the proceeds of the offering for necessary near and mid -term capital improvements as described in the offering plan. Such reserves will help guard against owners being hit with unexpected costs.