Q&A. Re: Balcony Inspections. Homeowner has extended their balcony. Board of Directors believes they are responsible for maintenance up to the point of original construction?

A. In most condominium communities, the common area is defined as the entire community other than the units.  Typically, balconies are depicted on the condominium plan as a three-dimensional air space that is either a separate element of the living unit or exclusive use common area appurtenant to the unit.  The structural components of the balcony (just below and outside of the balcony airspace) are typically common area.  Because any extension of the balcony would not likely be described in the CC&Rs or depicted in the condominium plan, the extension would typically be common area.  And, since most CC&Rs generally obligate the association to maintain the common area, if there is no language in the CC&Rs to the contrary, the association would likely be responsible for maintaining, repairing, and replacing the balcony extension.  Associations that are considering allowing an owner to extend their unit into the common area should first consider whether membership approval is required under Civil Code section 4600 and whether an amendment to the Condominium Plan is necessary.  If approval is granted, the association should enter into a recorded agreement with the owner that shifts maintenance responsibility to the owner and his or her successors, and that requires the owner and all successors to indemnify the association against any claims relating to the association’s approval of the extension and the owner’s construction and maintenance of the extension. – David A. Kline, Esq.