Condo Power Washing Damages Unit Owner’s Door

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J.F. from outside of Connecticut writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

I have a wooden front door of an older type no longer easily replaced. I live on 2nd floor. One of the board members lives on 3rd floor, bought a power washer, used it on 3rd floor walkway with resulting water runoff splashing onto my door, causing issues with wood swelling and separating. I immediately informed him he should stop but was met by attitude that I was imagining the damage caused, and in spite of obvious damage, door was still functional. However, this year, the outside walkways were coated with special paint and abrasive, I was unable to open the door. A handyman came to break the paint line at the bottom and had to chisel off pieces of the door at the bottom since the new walkway finish raised the level of the walkway. A few weeks later, I again could not open the door and had to climb in through the window. I was told that power washing had again taken place, on the 2nd floor this time. It was clear from the watermarks inside that whoever did the power washing had sprayed my door up to the halfway point. My door swelled further and has started to come apart at the bottom. I believe the association is responsible for repairing it.

Mister Condo replies:

J.F., this is a most unfortunate situation. I assume that the Board was performing its duties of maintaining the association when it ordered the power washing. The damage to your door is likely the responsibility of the association but it doesn’t sound like they are going as far as saying they are responsible. You didn’t mention who hired the handyman to chisel off the pieces of the door to make it operational again. If it was the association, they have taken some responsibility for the issue caused by the abrasive application. However, when you had previous damage from the power washing runoff, they took no responsibility from what you have told me. If it were me, I would speak with an attorney and sue the association for the damage (and the cost of the attorney to sue them). It is possible that the association has insurance that would cover the cost of making the door operational but if I were you I would want it replaced with a door that can withstand the power washing which is likely to continue. It is unfortunate that more care was not taken before ordering the power washing. I am sure you are fond of your door and would have preferred they just left it alone but the damage has been done and now it should be remedied. Don’t expect a simple conversation to suffice here. Photos and documentation are required as are proper letters to the Board informing them of the damage they caused and the remedy you are seeking. If you do not get satisfaction, do not be afraid to sue them if necessary. They have the right and responsibility to maintain the common area. They do not have the right to damage your property while doing so. Good luck!

One thought on “Condo Power Washing Damages Unit Owner’s Door

  1. Also, who owns the door. Read the condo declaration and bylaws. In many condo docs, the unit is defined as the space from the walls in, in which case the door is the property — and responsibility — of the association.

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