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Barrister
Barrister, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 34360
Experience:  16 years real estate, Realtor. Landlord 26 years
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I live in Escambia County FL. I have an exterior balcony

Customer Question

I live in Escambia County FL. I have an exterior balcony that attaches to the neighboring unit. Does that mean that I am responsible for that exterior part of the wall? I know that I am responsible for the balcony itself. The wall is the exterior of their unit.
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Barrister replied 4 months ago.

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney who will try my best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can.

Expert:  Barrister replied 4 months ago.

I am assuming that this is a condo or apartment that has a HOA that governs it, correct?

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What do your Bylaws state about the exterior of the building?

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Do they make you specifically responsible for your balcony?

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
It is in an HOA, but the HOA is only responsible for the roof and exterior painting. We solely own the rest of the unit. I care for my balcony and its maintenance. My balcony is attached to my exterior wall of the home (townhouse) and to my neighbors exterior wall. This creates 2 side of the balcony's border. (I attached a picture of the shared wall.)I replaced the balcony on 8 May, instead of a repair, because my neighbor said it was causing water damage in their unit. I completely repaired and waterproofed the balcony area connecting to his exterior wall. About a weeks ago he informed me that he still has problems. His contractor did a water test and the water is not coming from my balcony leaking, but rather he believes from seam cracks in the stucco. He asked my to pay for 1/2, however I did not have or ask him pay for any of the balcony repair.The HOA states that it is not an HOA issue. (On a side note, I am surprised the stucco isn't still under warranty for cracks because it is only 8 years old.)There is a section of wall below the balcony that my balcony rest upon. The contractor has found that water is not coming through from the balcony area after running a water test.Thank you for your help.
Heather
Expert:  Barrister replied 4 months ago.

Thank you for providing that detailed information...

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Ok, according to the Bylaws, it states that you share the cost of maintenance "in proportion to such use", which is a very odd way to word it..

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Since they "use" the wall for the external structural integrity of their dwelling, and you use the wall to simply attach onto and provide support for your balcony, I would opine that at most, you would be responsible for 50% of the cost of any maintenance... If I was a judge, I would probably go with a 75% neighbor 25% you division because you are likely only "using" a tiny portion of the wall, mainly any joists or rafters that your deck is attached to for support.

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But in the absence of some formula set out by the Bylaws, this will either have to be resolved by agreement between you and the neighbor or by one of you filing suit against the other with a judge deciding...

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If it were me, I would probably point out that you replaced your entire balcony based on his complaint, which proved to be wrong, so you bore that cost without it being necessary so you will contribute X% to the stucco repair and that is it.... You have to decide what you feel is reasonable for X% considering that he complained and you spent the money on a balcony that probably could have been repaired... but I would think 20-25% would be reasonable.

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
The replacement of the balcony was just over $4000. The original pair was about $250 for new tile and grouting.So my "use" of the wall isn't the whole exterior as my neighbor claims?
Expert:  Barrister replied 4 months ago.

I would opine no...you are only using the portion where your balcony attaches and the area from the floor of your balcony up that creates a barrier... nothing really below.. If his wall didn't extend up, you would just put up a railing and would only need to attach to whatever header or joist makes up the floor of his unit.. He is obviously using the whole wall as part of his townhouse...

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But this is such a vague and amorphous designation as to be very difficult to put a definite percentage on..

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thanks

Barrister

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