Partial Unit Repair Leaves Condo Owner Vulnerable to More Damage

T.N. from outside of Connecticut writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

Hi, I have been having issues dealing with my association property management in resolving in what I consider emergency situations. Would you consider a roof leak an emergency situation? It is the HOA’s responsibility to maintain the exterior and roof of the condo complex. During a 2014 rain storm, the roof leaked. The association tore the wet walls down but failed to call anyone out to tarp or cover the roof resulting in further leak into the condo from the opened walls when the following storm arrived soon after. After some stressful and emotional fighting with the HOA they finally fixed the roof leaving me with the interior damage repair. About one year later another roof leak occurred and the association tells me that they cannot get anyone out to temporarily stop the leak while it is raining due to unsafe conditions and that I am not the only one waiting to get their roof fixed. It is forecasted to storm for a couple of days. They have the audacity to say that if it keeps raining they will not be able to get anyone out to do anything until it stops raining and if it rains for a week it will be a week before anything is done. They even have the audacity to say that any further damage resulting will be dealt with later. I had to call a roofer out myself and pay the up-front fee to tarp the roof to prevent further ingress of water into my unit. I feel like I am being bullied by my own association. I learned from the first situation to take photos and document all calls and summarize them. Can you provide any insight to the situation proposed?

Mister Condo replies:

T.N., I am truly sorry for the damage your unit has sustained. I am further sorry that your HOA did not do more to remedy your situation at the time of the intrusion and subsequent damage. Alas, this is what insurance and lawsuits are for. I am guessing your personal insurer was advised and paid for whatever damage occurred inside of your unit. However, insurance companies often draw the line at repeated claims for the same type of damage, especially when it could have been prevented had the association taken swifter action, according to your account of events. This is typically where the attorneys come in. You hire one to represent you, the association hires one to represent them and the two either reach a settlement or head to court. There are some associations and states that require mediation or alternative dispute resolution to resolve the matter but my best advice to you is to consult with an attorney knowledgeable about your state’s laws and get the settlement process under way. At the very least, it may be a wake-up call to your HOA Board of Directors to treat these types of urgent repairs with more speed than how yours was handled. Unsafe conditions may have made the remediation difficult but I think there is more at play here that merits further investigation. Good luck!

One thought on “Partial Unit Repair Leaves Condo Owner Vulnerable to More Damage

  1. It should be noted that going on a roof in heavy rain is a dangerous situation. Depending on the pitch of the roof, it may be unsafe to try to tarp it while it is still raining. Once the rain stops, the HOA should respond and get the roof tarped until repairs are completed.

    Until the roof leak is known to the HOA they cannot be held responsible for the interior damages. That would fall on the unit owner. Once the HOA is notified, they must respond as quickly as possible to make repairs to the roof. If they fail to do so, they can be held liable for the interior damages, It should also be noted that most insurance policies would not cover a leaky roof as it is a maintenance problem and not a sudden and accidental loss.

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