The Nuances and Subtleties of the Three-Year Common Element Warranty

            A would be condominium buyer has inquired about having heard that it is possible to buy a condominium unit without having the benefit of the three-year common element warranty, because it has already expired at the time of purchase.  What that purchaser heard is absolutely correct.  Maryland’s three-year statutory warranty on certain components of the common elements can, indeed, expire before all units in the community are sold, leaving subsequent purchasers without the protection and assurance afforded by the statutory warranty specific to the common elements.  This is of particular relevance in slow selling communities, especially as a result of the economic downturn, and in large communities that are built in phases over a long period of time. (more…)

Preserving Your Asset

An important consideration of nearly all purchasers of residential condominium units is the fact that a condominium provides the advantages of home ownership without the time-consuming and laborious tasks that are an expected part of maintaining a house and property.  After all, exterior maintenance is taken care of by the association.  But that does not mean that maintenance and repair issues are something with which condominium owners need not be concerned.  On the contrary, there are several reasons why building issues should be matters of extreme urgency in a condominium setting.

It is important to first understand the condominium form of ownership.  The purchaser buys a unit that is owned in the same way that an individual home would be owned, but also receives an ownership interest, in common with all other owners, in the common elements of the complex.  Each owner’s property, therefore, includes all of the common elements in addition to their unit.  This means that maintenance and repair issues in the common elements effect the value, maintainability, and useful life of every owner’s property. (more…)

Maryland Condominium Owners Need to be Mindful of Common Element Warranty Requirements

If you have decided that the condominium lifestyle is for you, and have purchased a sparkling new unit in a recently constructed complex, you probably take comfort in the fact that Maryland law provides for a three-year warranty on major components of the common elements. However, you may not be aware that when you purchased your unit, the three-year warranty was probably already running, and, in fact, may even have expired. That is because the common element warranty, does not begin to run when you settle on your unit, but, instead, commences when the first unit sold in the complex settles. As a result, where the size of the condominium or the slowness of the market results in the project taking a period of years before all units are sold, it is possible that many purchasers may take title when the three year common element warranty has nearly, if not already, expired.

(more…)