Can HOA prohibit installing a window? And what points should I include in my request for structural change?

Asked by Bee, 97008 Sat Oct 11, 2008

My townhouse is not a corner unit thus it is very dark and there are almost no windows. I have an upstairs bathroom and because there is no ventilation (no windows) mildew has become a problem and it makes the entire floor really musky. I would like to install a window and even a skylight to lighten up the place. Would this make the value of my home increase? Would HOA approve of this structural change? What points should I include in my request of structural change?

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Perry Wong, , Saratoga, CA
Sun Oct 12, 2008
Adding a window for additional light and ventilation should help to add value to your T/H. You might want to start by attending a board meeting or mailing in a request for exterior changes to your unit. I'm sure they can fill you in on the procedure. The HOA (Board of Directors or Architectural Committee) usually have the final say on whether the window will be allowed. In my experience, the amount of detail varies on the HOA, but you should expect to provide specific details as to the size of the window, its location, it's similarity to the original windows currently installed, who will be doing the work, possibly an architectural or structural engineer's drawings of the proposed window installation, and possibly a trip to the city buliding department to make sure that the window is feasible and what permits you might need. This would apply to installing a skylight as well. The other question is who is responsible for leaks or repairs around the window or skylight should they be installed improperly. Many HOA's are responsible for the exteriors of the units, but in your case you may be jeapordizing the coverage if you add a window or skylight.
2 votes
I'm not sure if they can prohibit installing a window or not. I would call a member of the HOA and see what they say. They should be able to give you plenty of information on what you can and cannot do. Good luck and I hope everything works out for you.
Flag Tue Feb 3, 2015
William Metz…, , Portland, OR
Sun Oct 12, 2008
The short answer is you will probably need HOA approval. The HOA, and therefore everyone living in the building, will have to assume maintenance liability for any change you may make and therefore has the right to approve or disapprove changes.

If you live in a large complex, you probably have a community manager. Call or e-mail him or her, if you do not know your HOA's ARC procedure.
1 vote
Keith Sorem, Agent, Glendale, CA
Sun Oct 12, 2008
In most HOAs any work that affects the exterior of the building needs to be approved. However, I don't see why that would present a problem.

The reason the HOAs require approval is to somebody does not make an "improvement" that would affect the overall value of the building. Look upon it as a positive. Talk with a board member and ask.

You might want to check out Solatubes. They can re-direct natural light.
1 vote
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