New News

Well, you learn something new everyday. At least I do! Sometimes. Anyway I heard this story about an issue that’s currently transpired in one of Foster City’s larger townhouse communities and I thought of it as new news. I won’t mention specifically where this place so as not to start World War III, but suffice it to say that it’s a two story townhouse built on a slab foundation. Just in case you’re thinking that narrows it down a tad…you’re wrong. That out’s just about all of the two story townhouses in town.

The townhouse in question was listed for sale and in the inspection it was disclosed that the place has a 4 inch crack on the slab foundation that’s noticeable on the floor downstairs. Obviously, the foundation crack is a structural problem. Here’s my discovery…the HOA takes no responsibility for this type of issue. It’s entirely up to the homeowner to resolve this on their own. In this case, unfortunately, the crack not only effects the unit in question but at least one other unit adjacent to this one. When a contractor looked at the issue it was suggested that if this crack was going to be repaired it would need to be repaired in the adjoining townhouse(s) as well to insure the job was done right. The adjoining homeowner wouldn’t allow access to his place even for an investigation by the contractor. As a result the home had to be sold at a significant discount since there doesn’t seem to be an opportunity to fix the problem and the new buyer is going to have to live with a 4 inch crack on his/her floor until there’s some kind of agreement.

Seems sort of like a huge pain to me. Also seems like a marketing nightmare that I hope I never have to endure! I guess the thing that most surprised me was the fact that the HOA isn’t taking responsibility for this structural problem. If there’s a problem with other exterior structural elements they certainly do. Maybe none of the local HOA’s include foundations in their coverage…I intend to look pretty hard at the fine print in the homeowners docs in the future, that’s for sure. I also wouldn’t hesitate to have an engineer look at any floor element that looks out of level or seems irregular. If a townhouse has a foundation problem, particularly one who’s fix would include another neighboring unit’s cooperation, I sure want to know that going in.


  1. Dana Ferri says:

    Sounds like my townhouse community! Jim, I’m surprised that you’re surprised “that the HOA isn’t taking responsibility for this structural problem.”
    I have a few stories for you about what our HOA isn’t taking responsibility for lately. It would make you sick.

  2. Hi Jim,
    thanks for sharing this and this definitely enlightened me as I was looking a two story townhouse back in 2006. It did have a crack and I was not getting forthright information from any source. I didn’t pursue the home. My take is, HOA should cover any structural issues. I anticipate some kind of litigation here on that property.

    Again, I dont want to name that property either.

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