Condo Unit Owner Damages Garage Door. Who Pays?

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B.C. from outside of Connecticut writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

If a unit owner damages his own garage door and the rails hinges or moving parts is he responsible for his own repairs?

Mister Condo replies:

B.C., the short answer is “it depends”. Typically, any owner who intentionally damages any common element id liable for the cost of the repairs. If the unit owner has insurance that covers the damage, the insurance might cover the cost or there might be a deductible expense to the unit owner with insurance picking up the rest of the tab. I am assuming that the damage to the garage door was accidental, meaning a unit owner or guest pulled in to close and hit the garage door and damaged the door and the hinges. There are now a few different insurance claims going on here so let’s think about what happened. Driver error caused the damage. The driver is responsible. If the driver has insurance that covers this driver error and resulting damage, the automobile insurance might pay. If there is no insurance and the unit owner is still responsible for the damage, the unit owner is likely to have to pay, less any homeowner’s insurance coverage (not too likely as the damage is outside of the unit). The association may have control over the building exteriors and insist that they handle the repair and bill the unit owner for the damage. It is possible that the association has a preferred vendor for their garage doors and require that vendor to work for them when doing this type of work. I am sorry that a unit owner did this damage to their own garage door. I hope it all works out and no one was injured. Good luck!

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