The Condo Special Assessment: Adressing Water Supply Problems Proactively

Industry Observer

I've been taking cold showers this week.

Our condo association has been working on the hot water pipes and the supply of hot water has, to say the least, sucked.

But I'm not mad, not even particularly frustrated, just a little . . . cold, even in the Texas heat.

I'm not mad because I knew about the planned work before moving in.water faucet in an Austin condo

And even though I knew we would be facing some interruptions in the water supply, and that it was going to cost a bundle for the condo association to address the problems, I still wasn't concerned.

Here is why: the association was up-front with the information. They held meetings, took votes, sent out newsletters, put flyers in residents' doors, sent email and followed up with even more information.

They said what needed to be done, why it needed to be done, the anticipated impact of doing it, the timeframe for doing it, the cost of doing it . . . and so on. Then they did some of it, and solicited feedback, and reviewed the feedback, and modified the plans, and shared the updated information.

They also explained why a special assessment was necessary to pay for the work, and how the funds would be used.

Contrast this to another condo near by that hasn't been so forth coming about the water supply problems they've had over the last year or so.

That condo association was spending a lot of money to fix breaks in the supply lines, and the residents were experiencing unplanned, unscheduled outages. I visted that complex several times while shopping for a new condo and the big open trench filled with water along with the voiced frustrations of several residents and tenants were enough to give me pause.

I don't know what happened, or is happening, with that condo develoment, but I DO know what is happening with mine.

And that means the cold showers don't bother me.

I know the lines are being worked on. I know maintenance personnel will help me get my fixtures cleared out of the resulting debris so that the hot water will flow smoothly again in a few days. I can be patient while they address more urgent requests from other residents who have smaller kids, or are elderly, or have health problems that mean that the cold water is a bigger problem for them than it is for me.

If you are shopping for a condo in Austin, take the time to find out how the condo association handles problems such as this  and if you can't get the information you need to make an informed decision, you might want to keep shopping.


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Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

I'm living in a condo with water problems that never seem to end but our board continues to try and educate the owners in the same way yours has.  It pays to read the condo and association documents before you buy a condo.  They are important even if they are boring.

Sep 26, 2011 05:56 PM #1
Allen 2222
Austin, TX

Hi Cindy - I hope your association can get the problems worked out. Our are taking a little longer than expected, but I do think it will get done satisfactorily. Also, it has given me the opportunity to talk about water supply problems, droughts, and what other people experience around the world with my kids, who just assume the water will always flow.

Sep 26, 2011 06:02 PM #2
Gwynn Carpenter
Gwynn Teal Carpenter-Broker: Home and Hearth Realty (Austin) - Austin, TX
: Broker, Home & Hearth Realty (512)467-6191


Alison:  I too live in a condo in western Travis County (Austin, Tx) and I can tell you that unless you have a great Board of Directors and a pro-active HOA management company, condo living itself can suck!!  So let's include checking on what the BOD is like before purchasing as it can make life miserable.  Glad you have open communication within your condo community and soon the warm water will be flowing again.

Sep 26, 2011 07:57 PM #3
Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408 - Daytona Beach, FL
Buy Daytona condos for heavenly good prices

Alison - I truly like your attitude. the thing is that water may disappear, and you can either be mad as hell, or take it in stride, like you do.

@Gwyn - nope, it does not work this way. The BOD is voted yearly, so you buy with one BOD and then deal with another one, and all it takes is one activist idiot, and often there is one willing to be on the BOD (LOL)

Sep 29, 2011 03:35 AM #4
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