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Should I take money from my neighbors?(20 posts)

Should I take money from my neighbors?Kristin
Aug 12, 2003 8:17 AM
I'm getting ready to do a home improvement. My condo has a rough wood slatted deck. Its a great deck, but rain pours through the deck above. There is a gutter system, called Underdeck, that some owners are installing. This will channel the water off of the deck and out the sides. It costs about $1200 to install. I really want to have this done, but $1200 is kinda steep right now. My downstairs neighbors were also talking about having it installed on their deck. I told them to wait, because if I install one, they won't need it. In response, the offered to pay for half of it. I'm tempted to take it; but I wonder if that's wise. Opinions?
re: Should I take money from my neighbors?TJeanloz
Aug 12, 2003 8:26 AM
Why not just have everybody pitch in and install it on the top floor deck? Wouldn't that work?
Aug 12, 2003 8:28 AM
No, wait! Never take money from strangers.

The problem here is that you are essentially selling them this system on your claim that it will do what you say it will do. Are you certain? What if it doesn't work like you claim? What if it is only 90% effective? What if it costs more than you were told? Are you promising a lifetime of maintenance that will keep water off their deck as well as yours? How will you resolve the issues?

These are problems you take on if you take your neighbor's money. It may not be worth the trouble.
I don't quite get it.lotterypick
Aug 12, 2003 9:43 AM
Looking at the product the solution assumes the rain drops directly down, which I wouldn't think is the case.

I assume the reason for the investment is to utilize the storage on the deck and not get it damaged.

I'd go with Mohair, but perhaps see if the thing works on someone elses deck. I'm not convinced the solution will serve it's purpose because the deck is not that deep. Meaning, rain will get on the deck and the stuff on it unless there's overhang from the unerdeck, which would provide some shielding.
Hmmm. Interesting thoughtKristin
Aug 12, 2003 10:14 AM
So far only first floor owners have installed them and those owners are pleased with the result. The roof (see picture) is designed so that lots of water runs off. This caused a waterfall through all three decks right next to the wall--even if its only sprinking. Of course the underdeck will not protect the deck surface in a driving storm, but it will keep most of the deck dry during most showers. You make a good point though. I wonder how much rain will land on my deck and drip through onto theirs. They may not get the benefit they want without installing their own. Something I hadn't considered.
So, do you have permission from the above deck owners?dr hoo
Aug 12, 2003 8:29 AM
You will be installing it on THEIR property after all, the upstairs condo, right?

If you both will benefit from it, splitting the cost is not a bad idea. You both get what you want for 1/2 the price. You are not taking money so much as splitting the cost of a collective good.

However, once installed on your upstairs neighbor's deck, you will not own it. If they tear it off, or if they re-do their deck, or they damage it somehow you won't be able to say a thing about it.

Since others are doing this, there might be some condo specific rules that apply, or some agreement that all of the parties sign. I would ask someone who has had it done how they dealt with this issue.
I am the deck owner above.Kristin
Aug 12, 2003 8:59 AM
This is a three story condo with slatted wood, unrooved decking. This is a picture from another unit for sale in my building, to give you an idea. The underdecking (if I install it) would be installed to the bottom of my top neighbors deck. But I (my unit) would be responsible for maintaining it.

The owners below me are a very nice retired couple and this will likely be there last home. Me. I plan to sell and upgrade in about 5 years. The questions Mohair raised are the ones that I am most concerned about. And they should be concerned too. I will maintain the underdeck well and will make sure it is installed properly by an insured contractor. But what if I move and the new owners don't maintain it? Now they've blown $600 and must invest another $1200 to have it installed on thier deck.

The only problem is that I might not be able to afford this til next summer and they don't want to wait that long. I hate to see them spend $1200 needlessly. If I take the money from them, perhaps its best to write a zero obligation contract to assure that they are "gifting" me the money with no contractual obligations on my part or the part of future owners. Can this be done without a lawyer?
Sounds like you're stuck in the middle nmpitt83
Aug 12, 2003 9:14 AM
har, har, har. nmKristin
Aug 12, 2003 10:16 AM
No, but your association should pay for thispitt83
Aug 12, 2003 8:51 AM
Almost always, external repairs and modifications are paid for and approved by the association. I wouldn't even consider it before going through them.
Approved by the association but not paid for.Kristin
Aug 12, 2003 9:03 AM
Decks are not common property. I own my deck. There are rules about the decks, such as: you may not permenantly adhere objects to the deck or exteral portion of the unit without prior approval by the association. The underdecks are already approved, however all associated costs are the responsibility of the unit owner.
Sounds like a good idea, but check for legal problems....nmMR_GRUMPY
Aug 12, 2003 8:52 AM
No problem at all. Verbal contract.No_sprint
Aug 12, 2003 10:04 AM
Offer, consideration, benefit. All there. No problem at all.
Aug 12, 2003 11:03 AM
I sure hope you aren't a lawyer. If she contracts with these people to keep water off their deck, she had better deliver.

If she takes their money, puts this thing up, and it doesn't keep water off their deck, for whatever reason, now what? What if by putting this thing up she makes their problem worse?

The answer is simple. They either demand their money back, or they demand she spend even more money delivering on her promise. Either way, she is out money and aggravation. It's not so simple after all.
sorry, you're wrong.No_sprint
Aug 12, 2003 11:11 AM
Why would she make a 100% guarantee to keep all water off their deck?

She is looking to improve, can't afford, they make an offer, the benefit is improvement.

Secondly, it's her place, she can do what the heck she wants, whether they offer to assist with payment or not, whether she wants to upgrade or even downgrade.

Now, you are definitely not a lawyer.

Law school grad here.
I am not wrongmohair_chair
Aug 12, 2003 11:38 AM
Her neighbors are offering to pay the cost of an improvement that is supposed to give them the same benefit, because she says it will. If she takes their money and does not deliver on that promise/contract, she has a problem. They can sue her for specific performance.

Furthermore, if by installing this thing it channels more water on to her neighbors deck, she can be in trouble whether she took their money or not. Here's a lesson for you: she cannot do what the heck she wants. She can not make an "improvement" to her property that degrades the property of her neighbors. For single family homes, this can be a judgement call, but for stacked condos covered by CC&Rs, it's not.

Many people have graduated law school. Hell, Steve Young, former QB for the 49ers graduated law school. It's not that hard.

Real lawyers actually pass the bar.

You might want to consider a course in real estate law.
Yes you areNo_sprint
Aug 12, 2003 11:47 AM
Her only promise is to have the work done they both want done. If the contractor doesn't fulfill his obligation, that's another story.

People sue over every darn thing.

I thought she owned the whole thing and was renting below.

Calm down boy. LOL I can see from here you're hot under the collar.
To the issuesNo_sprint
Aug 12, 2003 1:37 PM
The issue of whether or not to accept your neighbors offer is one issue in itself. It is no problem, there is a nice tidy verbal contract therein. That was your question.

Some like to make things harder than they are. I always say a little bit of legal knowledge in the hands of most people is a dangerous thing. Now, there are other issues including one that someone brought up. What if this thing doesn't do what it's supposed to? Then of course, you go after the contractor. This is another separate issue and whether or not anyone else helps pay makes no difference. Should you negatively effect anyone else, they'll look to you whether or not they've helped pay. You, of course, look to the contractor. This wasn't what you asked though.
Aug 12, 2003 2:04 PM
- You are planning to make this improvement next summer.
- They have offered to pay for half now, can you afford half now?

The "contract" (written or verbal) could be that you split the cost of yours now, if the desired results are achieved, great. If there is still a problem with water at their level, you split the cost of installing theirs next summer.
Excellent suggestion!Kristin
Aug 13, 2003 5:47 AM