Floods Tearing Apart Small Condo Neighbors

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V.C. from outside of Connecticut writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

A 2-unit condo driveway is part of the common areas. Due to grading problem, when it rains, the garage in my unit floods and if it the rain is severe the neighbor’s garage also floods and both of our porches flood. The driveway would have to be fixed to alleviate the problem. Do I have to pay for this myself or is it an HOA problem? The HOA is just myself and the other unit owner but this is also a health issue due to the standing water in my garage and the porch when it is bad. The other unit owners don’t want to help pay.

Mister Condo replies:

V.C., I am sorry for your flooding worries. Standing water is indeed a major health problem and the ensuing mold and mildew can create their own health risk. It sounds to me like you have already reviewed your condominium documents to determine who owns the driveway and it sounds like the driveway is property of the HOA and under control of whoever runs the HOA. In a small association like yours, the Board is likely the two owners. You want to repair the driveway and the other owner does not. This is a legal quagmire for both of you. You could sue the association to make the necessary repair but you will effectively be suing yourself. However, if the other unit owner doesn’t come around and pony up their share of the assessment, you may have little choice. If you pay for the repair on your own you may not have any recourse for collecting the fair share from the other unit owner. If you sue and get a court order for the repair, there is still no guarantee that the other unit owner will pay but at least you will have legal documentation to show that the other unit owner is responsible which may allow the association to sue the other unit owner for the assessment. When small condo unit owners don’t agree, things get ugly quickly. My advice is for you to work out an amenable settlement between the two of you so that you can get your units protected from future flooding events and make the necessary repairs from the damage already done. Good luck!

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