How Can I Legally Halt the Renovation of My Shared Property?

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Our townhome was built in 1985 (5 adjoining units). There is one unit at the end (separate balcony and two in the middle have a full wall dividing the balcony) and two additional units with no balcony. The two guys living in the unit were friends and wanted it open when the place was built in 1985. My husband and I purchased one of these units with no balcony between those two units. We like the full uninterrupted view of the lake and mountains. Now the lady next to us is selling her unit and the potential new homeowners want a divider, a railing, or a half wall. The HOA believes this is an HOA vote since it is part of the building. My husband and I bought the place like it was because we liked it. Why should someone come in and change it for their liking? The potential new homeowners have a dog and want to make sure he is on their side and also want the privacy or division between the two of us. If this is not the right unit for them they should look elsewhere, not change the place just because that is what they want.Do we have any rights to keep the balcony as is, with no divider, wall, etc?

[NOTE: Articles and answers on DearEsq., while written and published by lawyers, do not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by your reading of this information. You should always consult with an attorney for any legal situations.]

This is actually a very complicated, and fact-specific, question. When you’re dealing with housing that has some shared physical spaces, the documentation that comes with your unit should spell out, rather specifically, who owns what and who has the right to make changes to what.

In order to answer your question, then, you will have to do a rather careful read of your documents. You didn’t mention how you own the property, but if it is a condominium, it is not unusual for the exterior walls and features to be owned in common, and therefore in the control of the HOA (and not the individual owners).

That’s actually a better result for you. If the individual owners have control, your new neighbor can just build something. If it’s the HOA, you at least can apply some political pressure to get the result you’re hoping for.

How Can I Legally Halt the Renovation of My Shared Property?
Article Name
How Can I Legally Halt the Renovation of My Shared Property?
Our town home was built in 1985 with five adjoining units. One of the other units wants to renovate, blocking our view. How can we stop it?

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Author: House Attorney