Q&A: Taking Charge on Repairs

Q If there is damage to my roof and it leaks into my condominium unit and I reported it to the board three times with no repairs made, can I repair it myself and deduct the cost from my common charges? Please advise.

—Exasperated in Fort Meyers

A “The roof is the association's responsibility,” says attorney Kenneth Direktor, a Fort Lauderdale-based shareholder for the law firm of Becker & Poliakoff, “and you should not attempt to repair it yourself. Instead, you should take legal action to compel the association to fulfill its maintenance responsibilities under the declaration. Regarding your assessments, in Florida, you may not offset claims against the association against your assessments. The obligation of the association to maintain the property and your obligation to pay assessments are considered independent. See the appellate opinions in the cases of Sandles v. Sheridan Lakes and Abbey Park v. Bowen.”