What You Need to Know About Condo Renovation Rules

October 29th, 2021

Condos are regulated by many rules, and their communities are managed by homeowner associations (HOAs). These associations have extensive control and powers in prescribing regulations and approving remodeling of condo units. Condos are not stand-alone buildings and are often connected by outside walls to other units. As a result, their owners are submitted to many strict regulations related to refurbishing and remodeling individual units.
What-You-Need-to-Know-About-Condo-Renovation-Rules

Are you interested in purchasing a property in San Diego, CA? Marina Park is buzzing with exquisite condos for sale, but if you’re thinking about renovating it, there are certain things that you need to keep in mind. Read on!

Can you remove walls in a condo?

Each HOA has strict renovation rules that set what kind of work is allowed. Therefore, before you plan or undertake any work on your condo, you must check if what you envisioned is possible under the guidelines. These regulations are set in the Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs) every condo association has. The board of the HOA has the authority to impose stiff fines or undertake legal action against condo owners who disregard these rules and proceed with the renovations.

Removing walls is treated as a structural change in a condo. Any unit owner who wants to move or remove a wall must obtain prior permission from the HOA. A standard definition of structural changes in most CC&Rs describes them as work in units or common areas that affect “the structural integrity of the building” or “may structurally change the building”. This means that removing walls or otherwise changing the original floor plan of the condo is considered a structural change and requires prior approval from the HOA board.

The reasons for these rules are quite obvious: condos share walls with other units, and any remodeling affects the whole building. This does not mean that such requests are regularly denied, only that it’s an issue that must be dealt with in advance. However, requests are denied if the board assesses that removal of interior walls may result in damages or affect the integrity of the whole building.

How do you tell if a wall is load-bearing in a condo?

Before attempting to remove a wall, you should always first check whether the wall is load-bearing or non-load-bearing.  Load-bearing walls are built to support the weight of a floor or roof above it. Therefore, any part of this type of wall that is removed must be replaced by adequate structural support, like columns and beams. Non-load-bearing walls are usually partition walls and support only themselves. They can be safely removed without affecting the structural integrity of the building.

As this is such an important issue and wrong decisions can cause irreparable damages, consulting with professional architects, engineers, or experienced carpenters is a must. Still, before contacting professional assistance, some helpful clues can point to whether a wall is load-bearing and if the whole idea of removing a wall is feasible.

Types of walls

Walls that run parallel to the floor joists above it usually are non-load-bearing. In contrast, the ones that are perpendicular to the joists tend to be load-bearing.

  • Partial walls stop short of an adjacent wall are not always partition walls and may be load-bearing.
  • Exterior walls of a house are practically always load-bearing. They form the outside perimeter of the building, have openings for windows, doors and support the roof structure and all the floors.
  • Brick or stone masonry walls are built of strong and solid material that can withstand a lot of weight and tend to be load-bearing, especially outside walls.
  • Foundation walls are built of masonry materials and support the weight of the whole building, and are always load-bearing.
Can-you-remove-walls-in-a-condo

Where can buyers find premium San Diego, CA, real estate? Marina Park has the best condos for sale!

Are you looking to move to a modern condo in Downtown San Diego or a nearby neighborhood but need some help with your property purchase? Reach out to Neuman & Neuman, the real estate agents you can trust. With almost four decades of experience in real estate, we know the ins and outs of the market.

We will use our expertise to assist you in making a sound and diligent investment, just as we’ve done thousands of times before. Together we’ll find you your sanctuary. Call today!

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