They’re not always legally required, but that doesn’t make them unnecessary.
A condo inspection can help you take care of your residents, your property, and your budget.
A condominium’s Board of Directors has a fiduciary responsibility to its residents. This means that every decision you make—large or small—must be in their best interests.
And perhaps no decision has as big an impact on the success of your Condominium Association as a condo inspection.
Condo inspections provide valuable information about the physical state of your buildings as well as the financial resources needed to maintain them. A condo inspection should never be a one-time event, but part of your routine maintenance to uphold the integrity of your buildings.
Here are five reasons a condo’s Board of Directions should order a condo inspection.
1. The Developer Is Ready To Turn The Condo Over To You
Whether a condominium complex is newly built or a recent conversion from apartments, ownership responsibilities of the condo building will eventually transfer from the Developer to the Board of Directors. This usually occurs after 50% of the units have been purchased and it can be an exciting time.
But don’t let excitement blind you to the need for a condo inspection.
Once the Developer turns the property over to the Board of Directors, all owners jointly become financially responsible for all of the repairs and all maintenance on the common areas and exterior of the condo.
As you can imagine, repairs and maintenance on multiple buildings can get pricey very quickly. What happens next hurricane season, when all the owners’ roofs are leaking because they weren’t built correctly?
That’s right. You’ll be on the hook for it. Will your fledgling Condo Association be able to afford that?
You should know what you’re walking into. Unless you have an extensive background in construction and engineering, you shouldn’t trust the Developer’s walk-through.
Order a condo turnover inspection before the property officially changes hands. An expert condo inspection from BIS will help you catch potentially serious issues (while they are still the Developer’s responsibility).
2. Your Buildings Are In Disrepair
Crumbling walls, leaky roofs, and parking lot potholes aren’t just cosmetic flaws. Such neglect can lead to code violation fees and even lawsuits.
As a Condo Association, you have a responsibility to keep the property safe, secure, and operational.
If residents are injured or their belongings are damaged as a result of poor maintenance, they have the right to take legal action against you. Not only will you have to pay a lawyer to defend you, you’ll likely also end up paying the plaintiff’s fees as well…in addition to code violation fines and the repair costs.
Fines, fees, and legal costs are typically much higher than the cost of the inspection itself. By preemptively ordering a condo inspection, you’ll avoid paying the price of a stressful legal battle.
3. You’re Charging a Lot of Special Assessments
Your Condo Association fees should be enough to cover day-to-day operations and routine maintenance as well as occasional emergency repairs. If you’re leaving one of these things out of the equation, you’ll probably find yourself charging Special Assessments year after year…much to the chagrin of your cash-strapped residents.
Charging a Special Assessment every year isn’t normal. It’s a sign that your budget isn’t being calculated correctly.
This is where a condo inspection with a reserve account analysis can help.
A reserve account analysis gives you invaluable insight into the costs of maintaining building exteriors and common areas. Once you know how much “life” is left in a building feature (i.e. your roof, asphalt covering, or stucco), you can plan for how you’re going to pay to replace it.
And if Association fees have been adjusted to reflect your new budget, a professional condo inspection will give you the proof needed to support the change.
4. It’s Located By the Beach
Salt takes a heavy toll on buildings that few materials can withstand.
On concrete and stucco, salt can build up on the exterior surface from ocean breezes. When it rains, the salt is dissolved, and the resulting saline (salt+water) is washed into any cracks and crevices. As the water evaporates, the salt crystallizes, making those cracks bigger and causing the surface to crumble away.
Metal surfaces rarely fare any better. The salt and moisture in the sea air accelerates rust and corrosion. HVAC units, stairs, railings, and balconies should be inspected regularly to ensure their integrity.
5. It’s Been 10+ Years Since Your Last Condo Inspection
A condo inspection is an excellent tool for catching issues before they become an even bigger headache.
Both Broward and Miami-Dade County require inspections every 10 years on buildings 40 years or older. No, there’s nothing in the air that’s causing buildings in these counties to deteriorate quicker than those in neighboring counties. They’ve simply recognized that the longer a structure goes without a thorough inspection, the more likely it is to suffer damage.
It isn’t just age that necessitates a condo inspection, certain features do too. If you have balconies on a building more than three stories high, Florida law mandates that you have your balconies, platforms, stairways, and railways inspected every three years.
And even if your condo is 15 years old and only two stories high, regular condo inspections can help you identify and fix issues while they’re relatively small and inexpensive, so you don’t end up with a million-dollar construction headache later.
Condo inspections allow you to keep your residents safe, keep their neighborhood’s property values up, and keep the Association’s budget in shape. But your condo inspection is only as good as the person or company performing it.
At BIS, we have more than 40 years’ experience in home and commercial building inspection and we are also licensed in general contracting and engineering. We’ve used our expertise to inspect buildings from California to the Caribbean. We’ve been trusted by media outlets, courtrooms, and condo associations just like yours to put our extensive knowledge and background to good use.
When it comes to condo inspections, quality matters. Make sure you’re working with a qualified inspector that has the right credentials for the job.
Want to learn more? Call us today at 1-800-939-3915 to get started!