by Ryan McKeen
A Connecticut Superior court has held that CT’s Home Improvement Act applies to contracts with condominium associations. Bridgeport Garden Apartment, Inc. v. Villa Gesell Construction, LLC (Cocco, JTR). CT’s home improvement act is broad in scope, provides powerful protections to homeowners, and imposes significant obligations on contractors.
This case is interesting. Most home improvement contract cases (and there are many) involve a homeowner and a contractor. This case involved a contract with an association of 215 units for repairs to porches of ten units. The porches were limited common elements. None of the individual units were parties to the contract.
Contractors need to be aware of this when dealing with Condo associations and proceed with caution.
by Ryan McKeen
This week I am publishing my interview with CT Attorney General Candidate George Jepsen. Each day I will be publishing a segment of the interview. I’ve thought for some time, that George Jepsen is the best candidate for Attorney General and I support his candidacy.
I asked Mr. Jepsen some fairly open ended questions and I am publishing his answers in their entirety.
RM: One of the areas that I receive a lot of calls about in practice as a lawyer involve violations of condominium laws or bylaws. Attorney General Blumenthal has supported legislation to create a condo ombudsman to help condo owners resolve disputes with condo associations without resorting to litigation. As attorney general will you support similar legislation?
GJ: Yes. I believe negotiation and mediation are important tools to solve legal disputes without going to court. A successful settlement resolves the dispute while saving the parties time and money. That’s a win for everyone.
One of my hallmarks as Senate majority leader was that I reached out and worked with Republican leaders and the governor’s office. I think if you sit down and work things out, that produces a better product.
As Attorney General, I would have the same work style. I believe in solving problems. My first impulse is to sit down and see what the common ground is. Clearly sometimes there is an issue, which is black or white, right or wrong, moral or immoral where you take a firm stand and dig in. But my experience in the complex world of law is that more often than not neither side is perfectly right or perfectly wrong.
My view is you are better off sitting down and understanding the problem in its full scope and working it out.
An ombudsman, well versed in Connecticut’s condominium laws, would help resolve these property disputes without clogging the civil dockets of our court system.
File this under things I never thought about.
In Connecticut there are condo complexes that are comprised entirely of two units. The street term for these condos are conplexs. One part condo and one part duplex.
These units would appear to the naked eye to be a duplex or a two family home.
Why do developers make these units into condos?
The short answer is that it would be impossible from a title perspective to have seperate owners of a two family home. Which explains why two family homes that aren’t condos always have an owner and a tenant.
In order for a developer to sell two units instead of one – the developer can choose to make the units condos. Thus, two sales instead of one.
Needless to say, issues in a two person condo association can be conplex.
Matt Conway and George Colli Signs
Common interest communities are interesting legal creatures.
Most condo owners own both more and less than they may think (that’s another blog post for another day).
Displaying a political sign is a way for a homeowner to show support for a candidate.
Driving around my neighborhood I see signs everywhere: “Obama/Biden” “Annie Hornish” “George Colli” “John Kissel” “Matt Conway” “Vote No” “Vote Yes” and my favorite, “Bears for Barack.”
The problem with condos is that what appears to be a unit owners front lawn often isn’t their front lawn.
It is common for condo association bylaws to prohibit the display of signs on the lawns in front a unit or even in the windows of a unit.
There is no statutory right to display a political lawn sign in front of a Connecticut condo.
Click here to see how other states address the issue of displaying political signs at condos.