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Grand Haven condo owners may sue association over balcony repairs

Repairs costs for the balconies are $10,000.

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. — Residents at a condominium association in Grand Haven may sue the board over assessments for balcony repairs they believe are exorbitant and not entirely their responsibility.

"I'll maintain it, I'll power wash it" Shirlee Batterman, who has lived at the Grand Landing condominiums for two years said. "I'll do what I have to do, but I'm not going to fix the structure."

The board of the Village at Grand Landing Condominium Association assessed residents $10,000 to repair the bump-outs on their balconies. The business owners working in the buildings were not charged. 

"The costs for repairs are allocated among the co-owners based upon the association's master deed," the board said in the statement. "Management is entrusted to its board of directors who are elected by all of the co-owners." 

Several residents disagreed, believing the business owners and residents should split the repairs.

"We are an association as a whole and owe for damages that happen to the buildings," said Jamie Gustafson, who moved into Grand Landing in 2015. 

Both sides went through mediation proceedings. Attorneys for the association said the balconies are limited use elements that the association must repair, while the owner covers the costs. 

The board of directors, which is made up of three residents and two business owners, voted unanimously for the residents to pay for the assessments, said Jake Hogeboom, who owns @Home Realty and served on the board. 

"Even the residential owners who are getting these assessments are voting and agreeing because of these attorneys and because of how the bylaws are drafted," Hogeboom said. 

The board has sympathy for the hardships the assessments have caused some co-owners, according to the statement. 

"Ultimately, the board believes that is has exercised sound judgment to address a difficult situation and will continue to work to protect the investment that each of the co-owners has made in Grand Landing," they said. 

Gustafson doesn't trust that the board will pay back any residents if the cost of repairs is lower than the assessment. She and other residents are considering further legal action. 

"We just want to see an updated precise estimate," she said. "Once we get that, it's a fair [itemized] estimate, I am willing to pay that portion."

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