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Inheritance and Property Rights/Painting garage is whose responsibility in New Mexico?

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QUESTION: I realize you're only an expert for California and Arizona, but I thought you might be able to help.

Is the outside of a garage door considered an "exterior area" if I belong to a homeowner's association? The association regulations aren't at all clear as to who is responsible for painting the garage door, they only specify that the HOA is responsible for "exterior maintenance". Any thoughts?

ANSWER: Hi Barry -- it sounds to me like the HOA is responsible as the outside of the garage door is exterior-not sure how they can argue to the contrary.  The responsibility, as you know, is determined by what the covenants, conditions and restrictions (cc&r's) say -- they are recorded - always - so I'm not sure if that's what you're looking at or more informal rules of the HOA.  A title company's customer service department can provide you with a copy of the CC&R's, free, and typically they'll e-mail in pdf format.

This is a universal rule - the CC&R's dictating everyone's rights & obligations.  I am admitted to the federal ct in NM (recently) and am from NM originally so it's good to get a question from green chile country.



---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you again for answering my question!

I looked up the CCRs and there's an entire article re "EXTERIOR
MAINTENANCE". The first paragraph reads:

"In addition to maintenance upon the Common Area, the Association shall
provide exterior maintenance upon each Lot which is subject to the
assessment hereunder, as follows: Paint, repair, replace and care for
roofs, gutters, downspouts, exteriors building surfaces, trees,
shrubs, grass, walks, and other exterior improvements. Such exterior
maintenance shall not include glass surfaces or patios, maintenance of
which shall be the obligation of the Owner."

It doesn't explicitly mention garage doors, though.

Also, the garage doors are recessed. Would that have an effect on what
is considered "exterior"?

I've uploaded the entire CCRs (they're not private) to:

https://app.box.com/s/uxyanncqu8pytb2hgjqh0f3tvhcsms3d

Of course, I wouldn't ask you to read this entire document, but there
are a couple of other mentions of 'exterior' and 'garage' there just
in case the section I quoted above is insufficient.

Answer
I won't be able to look at the cc&r's due to time constraints, but your interpretation is correct;  they don't exclude garage doors like they do windows (it's always a battle whether a window is exterior or interior -- they spell it out) and recessed or not, the surface of the garage door is exterior without question.  I'd say you're totally justified in asking them politely to send their favorite painter over by appointment to repaint the garage door exterior.  Keep handy that section of the CC&R's as you may not be dealing with people having a legal mind at the HOA office.

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LEE HORNER ESQ.

Expertise

Probate estate and trust questions regarding California and Arizona estates.

Experience

I've been practicing real estate, probate estate and trust law in California since 1985 and in Arizona since 2005. I do NOT do homework questions. I am unable to advise on questions involving the laws of other states.

Organizations
Arizona and California State Bar Associations and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Education/Credentials
Business degree from the University of New Mexico Juris Doctorate from Lincoln Law School of Sacramento, CA

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