DEAR BOB: I own a rental condo. The owner of the unit abovemine requested and was granted approval by the homeowners’ associationdirectors to install wood floors. I objected, but the condo directors stillgranted approval. Now my condo tenant is complaining about the noise from theupstairs condo. It sounds like the upstairs resident is in the same room. Ihave complained to the management company, with no results. The decision of thedirectors to allow the wood floors upstairs has made an impact on renting mycondo. The condo board and the management company refuse to respond. Whatshould I do? –Patty C.
DEAR PATTY: I suggest you consult a local real estateattorney who is experienced with condominium law. At this point, it sounds likeyou haven’t suffered any actual damages. But if you lose a tenant because ofthe noise from the upstairs unit, then you can prove your loss.
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Have you talked with the upstairs resident to ask that rugsbe placed on top of the wood floor? That could dull or eliminate the sound,even if you have to pay for the rugs.
As a last resort, you could sue the upstairs owner formaintaining a private nuisance if you lose your tenant due to the noisy floor.However, I don’t think the homeowner’s association has any liability to you forgranting approval of the wood floor.
WITHOUT COMPLETION DATE IN HOME CONSTRUCTION CONTRACT, NOLIABILITY TO HOMEOWNER
DEAR BOB: We hired a custom-home builder to build our dreamhome. Before hiring him, we checked his references very carefully and everyonepraised him. The contract says he was to complete our new home in 110 days.That means our home should have been finished last summer. But today it is only50 percent complete. However, the contract says the builder cannot be heldliable for any extra cost incurred by not completing by the deadline. We didnot include any penalty if the builder was late. So far this extension has costus extra for our construction loan and additional rental fees for our currentresidence. What can we do? –Tony A.
DEAR TONY: Without a penalty clause in your constructioncontract with the builder, you have no practical recourse against him. I’ll betthe builder prepared that contract.
After the house is completed, however, you should have a”discussion” with the builder about how much his delay cost you. Butbe aware if you withhold final payment from him, he could record a mechanics’lien against your property so that is not a good solution.
Consultation with a local real estate attorney who isexperienced with construction law is suggested to learn if there might be anyrecourse other than a lawsuit for your damages.
CAN HEIR NAMED IN WILL CLAIM TAX DEDUCTIONS?
DEAR BOB: I have a friend who has been willed a house shelives in. She is paying all the bills, the mortgage payments, etc. Can shededuct the mortgage interest and property taxes on her 2006 income tax returns?–Joan D.
DEAR JOAN: If your friend holds title to her principalresidence, then she can claim the mortgage interest and property taxes shepays.
However, if she is merely named in the property owner’s willand that person hasn’t died yet, she isn’t the property owner and isn’tentitled to any tax deductions for mortgage interest and property tax she payson that property. For full details, she should consult her tax adviser.
The new Robert Bruss special report, “How to BuyFixer-Upper Houses with Little or No Cash for Fun and Fortune,” is nowavailable for $5 from Robert Bruss, 251 Park Road, Burlingame, CA 94010 or bycredit card at 1-800-736-1736 or instant Internet delivery at
(For more information on Bob Bruss publications, visit his
Real Estate Center).
Copyright 2006 Inman News