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Raised patio is above the foundation


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Yesterday I had a 5 year old townhouse that had a small patio, with the surface at least 5 or 6 inches above the top of the foundation. The concrete was poured against the siding and trim. It was hard to miss a mushroom growing out of the trim under the sliding door. Surprisingly, the only damage visible at the interior was slight staining, a few rusty nails and a yellowish powdery substance (mold?) on the insulation vapor barrier. All of the units within sight had patios built the same way.

I'm going to recommend that a contractor remove some of the trim and determine the damage, but I'm wondering what the options might be for permanently correcting this. It might be difficult or impossible to make major modifications to the patio because of the association rules. Does anyone with contracting experience have any suggestions?

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The patios are really small, John. A landing at the door would have eaten up close to a quarter of the square footage. I'm sure that's why they placed them so high.

I don't think tearing it out is an option, at least not without jumping through a lot of hoops.

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I'm sure the sill plate is gone in that area. In order to correct it, I see no other option but to remove the small patio. The I would install a PT deck in it's place. We can't worry about an HOA and if they will allow the repair, all we can do is to report what we find. Ya can't fix stupid!

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Thanks for the replies, everyone. I assumed removal was the only option, but held out hope there might be some miracle cure. There's probably about a 10% chance that patio is going to be corrected, but that's not my problem.

Just two days ago, I got a call from an agent who was in a house I'd inspected a few weeks ago. She was trying to determine if rotted framing caused by a high patio had been repaired. I had recommended that the rotted framing be replaced, AS WELL AS THE PATIO. I asked her what was done with the patio, and of course it hadn't been touched. Now I know how my doctor must feel when he tells me I need to eat more sensibly and lose weight.

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Only 5 years old, the damage could be minor so far. But a mushroom says otherwise. The part we see is only the fruit. Down in the dark, there is a root mass eating away at the sill. I wonder if they can still go after the builder for that screw up?

They could cut away a 6" strip of the concrete along the wall and install a metal grate there.

They could have put little roofs over the decks as well.

I like the idea of pulling the slabs away from the wall, with a hoe or with your teeth, whatever. [:)]

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Only 5 years old, the damage could be minor so far. But a mushroom says otherwise. The part we see is only the fruit. Down in the dark, there is a root mass eating away at the sill. I wonder if they can still go after the builder for that screw up?

On a 5 yr old house, I'd recommend corrective action even if I didn't see any damage. Not so on an undamaged 30 year old home.

Marc

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John, I hadn't thought of cutting a section out and installing a grate. It's not an ideal solution, but it might be doable. One other complication that I didn't mention, but was visible in the second picture is that each patio serves two units.

This evening I was back to pick up the radon monitor, so I took a little walk. Every unit in that community had the exact same patio with the same issue. I'm sure others are encountering the same problem. I can't see how the builder would ever be able to correct every one without going into bankruptcy. After 5 years, the streets don't even have the top layer of asphalt.

Also, after 5 years, the ground rod for this unit is still not installed - and the sticker signing off on the final electrical inspection was on the panel:

http://www.facebook.com/homeprolv?ref=h ... =1&theater

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Lets look at the bigger picture.

What will the buyer be solely responsible for concerning maintenance, repair & replacement? What is the home owner association responsible for? These questions should be answered by the RE Agent. The patios are a construction defect and It would be my guess that they fall under the HOA's responsibility. This still would affect the individual owners as each owner would have to pay their portion of the repair bill and costs of litigation against the builder.

I would report this as a construction defect that will affect the buyer solely or as a member of the owners association. The buyer should consult with the agent as to who is responsible for the repair. The seller, in a perfect world should be taking care of the repair by themselves or through the HOA.

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Lets look at the bigger picture.

What will the buyer be solely responsible for concerning maintenance, repair & replacement? What is the home owner association responsible for? These questions should be answered by the RE Agent. The patios are a construction defect and It would be my guess that they fall under the HOA's responsibility. This still would affect the individual owners as each owner would have to pay their portion of the repair bill and costs of litigation against the builder.

I would report this as a construction defect that will affect the buyer solely or as a member of the owners association. The buyer should consult with the agent as to who is responsible for the repair. The seller, in a perfect world should be taking care of the repair by themselves or through the HOA.

"These questions should be answered by the RE Agent. "

"The buyer should consult with the agent as to who is responsible for the repair."

No. Wrong. The buyer's attorney has to answer these questions.

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Lets look at the bigger picture.

What will the buyer be solely responsible for concerning maintenance, repair & replacement? What is the home owner association responsible for? These questions should be answered by the RE Agent. The patios are a construction defect and It would be my guess that they fall under the HOA's responsibility. This still would affect the individual owners as each owner would have to pay their portion of the repair bill and costs of litigation against the builder.

I would report this as a construction defect that will affect the buyer solely or as a member of the owners association. The buyer should consult with the agent as to who is responsible for the repair. The seller, in a perfect world should be taking care of the repair by themselves or through the HOA.

"These questions should be answered by the RE Agent. "

"The buyer should consult with the agent as to who is responsible for the repair."

No. Wrong. The buyer's attorney has to answer these questions.

Might be the way it goes in Chicago but out here lawyers aren't routinely involved in the real estate transaction.

I agree it is an HOA responsibility. I'd still tell the client that there is a strong likelihood that the frame behind that spot is rotten and that if it's that way with one unit it will probably be that way with all of 'em and that nobody can really know for certain unless/until someone removes that stoop and opens that area up.

I'd then tell him to make sure the HOA has lots of funds in its reserve and determine whether they'd already budgeted for repair of this item; cuz, if they hadn't he and everyone else will be hit with a nice fat assessment somewhere down the road.

Then I'd step out of the way so that the realtor didn't slam into me as she feinted.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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RE Transactions are handled in different ways in different States, but how ever it is handled the buyers questions need to be answered.

In the inspection world should we report on all they are buying, their unit and the building that contains it?

Sure, why not? Why not the entire complex.

Your client buys the unit but inherits all of the stuff going on with the entire complex. If the roof of the building is trashed and nobody has identified it as an issue to the HOA, and the client buys the house, the buyer will probably get slammed with an assessment unless the HOA has been managing their maintenance funds well - and most don't.

If the landscaping contractor is piling dirt against the outer walls and they are rotting out and nobody has identified it as an issue sooner or later the client gets hit with that assessment.

If the exteriors, walks and ground aren't being properly maintained and nobody has made an issue of it your client eventually gets hit with an assessment.

Do the unit, look at the roof, attic and crawl of that building if they are accessible and walk the grounds. Then warn the client about all of the stuff going on that could cost him/her money down the road.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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I agree with Mike, this is bigger than one unit! When you buy a condo you are also committing to the funding for the upkeep and maintenance of the complex. The complex needs to go after the builder if the law allows( if they are still in business), this is a major defect that should have never happend. I would SWAG the demo, correction and repair of the hidden damage based just on the photos in the $8k per unit range, that would not include any of the legal fees and cost.

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"I did not inspect all of the common areas of the HOA; such an inspection would take a very long time and is outside the scope of this report. While I didn't perform a complete common area inspection, I couldn't help notice several conditions that are defects and a concern......"

Or something like that, depending on particulars.

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Right, they are buying in to the whole complex.

I inspected a 70's townhouse and found minimal problems, young family for clients. Their roof was new and the wood siding needed a bit of paint. I noted that the other half of the complex still had the old asphalt roof in bad shape and mentioned that, along with a few pics.

Two weeks later i was inspecting another place for them. They found out when about to sign that the sellers owed $30,000 on the unit, special assessment for roofing and siding.

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I may not have been very clear in my description. I've previously discovered that the term townhouse has different meanings in different areas. Around here, townhouse refers to the type of structure, rather than the type of ownership. A townhouse owner owns the land the unit is on and is responsible for exterior maintenance.

The community the house with the high slab is located has a HOA, but the association is only responsible for landscaping, garbage removal and trash collection, as well as enforcing the rules, which mainly are to ensure uniformity with exteriors.

That plays into the crux of the problem. The patio needs to be changed, but the HOA may not allow it. I think I'll call the buyer in a few weeks and ask how (or if) it was resolved.

Townhouse/condo

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We call those fee simple, or fee simple with HOA oversight.

Yeah, that makes it complicated for them. Not for us so much; we just have to tell them what's wrong and what to do about it; we're not bound by HOA oversight.

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