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Phillips Esq.
Phillips Esq., Attorney-at-Law
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 19016
Experience:  B.A.; M.B.A.; J.D.
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Im in violation for installing bamboo floors into our condo

Customer Question

I'm in violation for installing bamboo floors into our condo for house rules that were not included in the CC&R's. Multiple other units also did not know about this and one of them actually had floors which were bamboo which is why we installed ours without thinking it would be a problem. The wording in these house rules simply say "all areas must be carpeted". It wasn't done on purpose and the board saw us installing them, and told us a month after they were installed. We have area rugs and runners throughout the condo to cover 70% of the floor, there have been no noise complaints, only other owners curious about getting new floors themselves.

I live in Seattle, WA, my wife is 6 months pregnant and the stress is causing medical problems with her pregnancy at this stage. I've sent an email to the board to ask them if they could at least let us wait out the pregnancy before they continue with pursuit. They are not responding any of my requests and just send threatening documents that they are investigating, and demanding information, and saying that I am definitely in violation and wanting to come in our home to check things out before they make a final decision. This process will likely take at least another month or more, bringing it very close to the due date of my wife.

We are not wealthy people and cannot afford an expensive attorney. With my wife's difficulty in pregnancy, I have had to reduce the hours I work to help take care of her at home more which eventually cost me my job. I think it would be too hard to try and sell our condo, move out and find something else suitable in the short time available.

There is no fee schedule defined in our condo and they haven't outright said we need to remove the floors yet, but it is making our life very difficult and at this stage I'm afraid it's jeopardizing the health of my family directly. Can you please help us figure out a way to at least get them off our back for awhile or share any wisdom about how these issues that will help us make it through?

Optional Information:
State relating to question: Washington

Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 4 years ago.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to assist you. Kindly use CONTINUE or REPLY button to ask for clarification or follow-up questions.

Hello: I am so sorry to read about your difficulties. The Condo Association can be quite a handful. However, you should not let that bother you so much and cause stress to your expecting spouse. Even if the Condo Association tells you to replace the floor, you have to be given reasonable time to comply. You cannot comply if compliance would jeopardize your spouse's health. That's your priority at this time.

Also and more importantly, if you were not aware of these “house rules” before you put in the bamboo floor, the Association does not have legal standing to challenge your action. You cannot be held responsible for something that you did not know about when you installed the floor. In addition, if the bamboo floor is not creating any noise problem for your neighbors, then the house rules might be found by the Court to be not necessary, at least in your case.

In any event, you should send a detailed notice to the Board, letting them know without divulging intimate details that your spouse is having a difficult pregnancy and that you do not want your dispute to jeopardize her health and so the Association should suspend any action in the case including coming to your unit for inspection. To demonstrate the seriousness of your wife's situation, you may obtain a letter from her doctor addressed to the Association regarding her need to be stress-free during her pregnancy. If the Association ignores you and still wants to pursue the case, the notice would be a very powerful evidence on your side. It is more likely that Court would find them quite unreasonable. You need to send this notice to the Board by certified mail, return receipt requested. Retain copies of all communications with the Association regarding this matter.

Best wishes to you and your wife,

Let me know if you need further clarification.

Phillips Esq. and other Real Estate Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thank you for the help, I'm going to send the response as suggested. Hopefully this will work and we can at least kick the can down the road far enough so we don't have to worry about this until after our baby is born. Thanks again and if you have any additional information that you think might be helpful in this matter, please let me know.
Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 4 years ago.
You are quite Welcome!

I have no additional information at this time.

Hope all goes well.

Have a great evening