: Our board is forcing all homeowners to use their selected vendors for owner improvements and alterations to our individual units. The vendors selected by homeowners are all licensed,
bonded and insured in accordance with state requirements. Does the board have the right to demand we use their preferred vendors?
: When it comes to condominiums, homeowners own airspace (and improvements to the airspace such as carpets, cabinets, and plumbing fixtures). That means any time you alter a common area wall, ceiling or floor, or electrical and plumbing lines in the walls, you need the association's permission. As a result, it is not unreasonable for boards to require you to use their designated vendors any time you touch the common areas. If your unit improvements do not involve the common areas, such as replacing cabinets and counters, the association cannot require you to use their vendors.
UNFAIR RESTRAINT ON TRADE?
: For an association to demand
that only certain contractors be used by unit owners seems like an unfair
restraint of trade providing no demonstrable benefits to the association and
infringing on the unit owner's right to choice.
: No it is not an unfair restraint on trade. Unauthorized alterations to plumbing and electrical systems can significantly impact the membership through floods and fire. It is not unreasonable for the association to require particular plumbers and electricians be used--vendors who already know the building's systems, who are licensed and insured, and who will not make unauthorized
alterations. Owners do not have a "right" to pick vendors when it comes to altering the association's common areas.
: Associations needing legal assistance can contact us
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