HUD (Housing of Urban Development) Case No. 05-08-1592-8
Problem: Plastic sheet covers and wooden beam installed on our balcony since Oct. 2007 through present
Background of the Case
In October of 2007, Mr. Richard G. contacted our apartment to request that we allow plastic sheet covers and wooden beam on our balcony to prevent an alleged leak to the unit below our unit. We agreed for two reasons:
1. He stated that everything would be removed first thing in the spring, weather-permitting.
2. My mother, who occupies the unit, was away for a couple of months, and because of her absence it did not seem like such a nuisance during that time.
As winter weather receded, in March we contacted Mr. G. to inquire the progress of removal of the junk installed on our balcony, so that we could do spring cleaning and plant flowers. He stated that the balcony would be repaired by the end of May and the sheets and wooden beams would have to stay until then. We informed Mr. G. that the sheets in fact retain standing water on the balcony preventing it from evaporating, so if the standing water caused the alleged leaks below our unit, this solution was ineffective, but he would not want to hear it.
At the end of May, we again contacted Mr. G. to inquire about the issue. He stated that he never said the balcony would be repaired in May and at that time he stated the balcony would be repaired this year, but he would not commit to any date or even approximate timeframe. Furthermore, at that time we were advised verbally by Mr. G. that we could not enter the balcony after my statement that the layers of slippery plastic sheet covering the balcony pose a health and life hazard if someone slips and falls on the balcony. He moreover stated that in fact we were responsible for repairs to the balcony, but he refused to put it in writing when we asked him to do so. Moreover, he stated that when/if we perform the repairs to the balcony, and the property below was still having a leak, we would be responsible for paying for damages to the property owner of the unit below. According to Owner’s Manual any repairs to common elements can only be performed by the Association or repairs to limited common elements must be directed to the unit owner by the Association. To our knowledge we cannot perform any repairs or alterations to common elements, our balcony in this case, until the Board, at its discretion, clearly states in writing it in fact is the unit owner’s responsibility, as explained in detail on page 9 of Declaration and By-Laws.
We strongly feel Mr. G. has been discriminating against my mother, who is an immigrant and senior citizen. First and foremost, in the last 9 months he has done nothing to repair the balcony of the unit she occupies even though it is responsibility of the Condominium Association is such repairs are needed. He has banned her from using her balcony for undefined period of time even though she pays all association dues in full, which includes using the balcony. All other residents of the complex can use their balconies except for this one resident. She is banned from using her balcony so that the person residing below her unit can enjoy his property. For all we know at this point, this temporary solution to the problem another resident is having has become a permanent arrangement at my mother’s expense. It appears that Mr. G. has made it his agenda to make her life as inconvenient as he can also by sending maintenance people at any time he wants. People just show up and knock on her door for no particular purpose. If she isn’t there, which is unreasonable to expect that she would be waiting by the door 24 hours a day, he states nothing could be done because nobody was home. It is quite reasonable and customary to make prior arrangements with the unit owner should an entry to her/his unit be required by maintenance personnel. Even when she is there and answers the door, the maintenance staff just has a chit-chat with her about how awful her situation is and leaves after doing absolutely nothing in terms of the balcony repairs.
At this time, we have sent complaints to the U.S. Department of Justice. We’ll see if anybody cares or it all comes down to people caring as much as Mr. G. and the American Property Management of Illinois company that has hired him.
Building D, Crystal Towers
Below: most recent photographs of the balcony
P.S. It seems that plastic sheets, duck tape, and "silicone can fix anything!"