Condo Damage Caused by Unit Owner Suffering from Dementia

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D.M. from outside of Connecticut writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

Upstairs neighbor has Alzheimer’s/dementia, lives alone. Water leaking into downstairs neighbor’s, creating electrical fire danger. She won’t let anyone in.

Mister Condo replies:

D.M., I am sorry you and your association find yourself in this situation. Welcome to the world of court-ordered access! Even if your condominium documents allow for “right of access” to units within the association, it is usually best to do so with a court order. It is time to speak with the association’s attorney on this issue so you can get expert legal advice on the steps the association needs to take to get into this unit owners abode to address the problems as they occur. The association cannot discriminate against any single unit owners so it is not like you can say we think this unit owner has dementia so we need to enter the unit. You simply cite the problem (in this case, water damage caused by the unit owner) and the need to access the unit to correct the problem. Once you have your court order, a locksmith can help you enter the unit if the owner refuses. Again, don’t do any of this without legal counsel. Further remediation may be needed and your by-laws likely have clauses about unit owners not causing damage. You may be able to seek remedy against this unit owner for the damage caused and you may be able to seek relief from future damage if it is an ongoing occurrence. These are all items for the association attorney. Good luck!

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