Fact Finder: Condo residents forced to pay for pricey repair

Reported by: Joe Hart
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Updated: 8/05/2013 6:03 pm
RENO, Nev. (KRNV & MyNews4.com) -- Some downtown Reno high rise residents recently learned a painful lesson: they've been forced to move out of their homes temporarily for a multimillion dollar repair job, and they're getting stuck with the bill. Perhaps their biggest frustration is not having a say in any of this.

On the outside, the high rise condominium at 1200 Riverside Drive looks to be in good shape, but serious plumbing problems have forced the Homeowners Association to gut the 40 year old building and install new pipes on the inside at a cost of $3 million.

"We've had a lot of pipe failures out there. They're becoming more and more significant," says HOA Attorney Adam Clark.

The repair project is not going over well with the longtime residents like Roger Reid. He's being forced to move out for nearly three weeks while the work is done. He and other residents will also have to share the bill. For Reid, that means coughing up $32,000 to pay his share of the repairs.

"I was shocked," Reid says. Reid's neighbor had a similar reaction, "Of course I was shocked," says property owner Angie Phillips. "I'm not going to be able to afford that."

Residents like Reid and Phillips say they're upset that they had no say in this project, but according to state law, property owners are only entitled to a vote on capital improvements, not repairs. The HOA considers this $3 million project a repair job because they're replacing existing equipment.

Clark says anyone moving into a building like this should plan for repairs and inquire about them before signing on the dotted line. As buildings age, projects like this become inevitable, and it's good to keep in mind they can be pricey and rarely convenient. 

"It's a good time to take a vacation if someone's planning one," Clark says.

The HOA Board says it has been as transparent as possible during this while process, even holding public meetings for the property owners to attend. The bottom line: it is the board's decision, and property owners are at the mercy of the Homeowners Association. One option is to join the board, but that might be the only way to guarantee you have a voice.

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Kramer - 8/6/2013 12:50 PM
0 Votes
suggest Nv4 tell us what kind of pipes/connections are leaking and what they are using to replace. maybe a lesson learned there? I mean, the residence Inn in S. Reno had some catastrophic winter failures, there must be a reason for this in, especially a newer structure..."we just report it, don't have to dig any deeper"

Deadmeat99 - 8/6/2013 11:30 AM
1 Vote
Breaking News: HOA residents forced to pay assessment for common property repairs! Seriously, what did these people think they were agreeing to when they signed the paperwork to move in? You sign a deal with the HOA devil and eventually you will pay.

Reasonable - 8/5/2013 9:54 PM
1 Vote
Did anyone at KRNV think to speak with the many homeowners at 1200 Riverside who are relieved that the board has acted to address our very serious plumbing problems? During the past few years, a number of units in both buildings have been badly damaged by internal leaks seeping into walls and floors and damaging personal property. Each time a unit sustains this kind of damage, all of us, collectively, have to pay many thousands of dollars to make repairs. If our deteriorating pipes are not replaced at this time, the buildings will become uninsurable and, eventually, uninhabitable. Contrary to the implications in this news piece, our buildings are not being "gutted." Rather, walls are being opened in limited areas of each unit so that the vertical pipes can be accessed and replaced. While this work is being done, residents are required to move out because the water will be turned off. For obvious reasons, no one can or should occupy a dwelling that is without water. Our board of directors has a fiduciary duty to protect and sustain our property. In the view of many, if not most, homeowners at 1200 Riverside, the board has carried out this duty openly and diligently. Residents did not "recently learn a painful lesson"; in fact, the discussion has been ongoing for the past two years, with homeowners' concerns acknowledged at every step. It is well to remember that board directors are democratically elected by a vote of all the homeowners, and they do not receive any remuneration for the many hours of work they expend on behalf of all of us who live here. They do not deserve to be vilified for carrying out their duties in a responsible way. Neither I nor anyone else wants to spend over $30,000 to replace our pipes. That said, a condo is no different from a single family home. When a building system breaks down, it must be repaired or replaced. Otherwise, we not only lose the comfort of a well-maintained home but also our investment in that home.

eword - 8/5/2013 6:57 PM
1 Vote
With $700 a month HOA fees, and 100 units, you would think they could have saved some money to pay for repairs. Isn't that what HOA fees are for?

Dogboy - 8/5/2013 6:24 PM
0 Votes
The repairs are going to cost 32 thousand dollars. Who can afford a vacation after that? You can take two people on a two week stay in Europe three times on that much money.

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