Short-Circuited and Short Changed at this Condo

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D.Y. from Windham County writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

I have lived in my condo for 8 years and over the last 4 years there has been a drop in voltage when someone hits the elevator button and all my lights dim and turn off. We have had engineers and DWP look over everything and they thought it was the elevators engine which was replaced but it did not fix the problem. At this point I have spoken with realtors who have told me that now that the problem is public knowledge it must be disclosed if I ever sell the property. That being said my realtor told me it would hurt the value of my property but he has no idea how to quantify such a loss. Do you have any idea how I would determine my loss? So far it does not look like the issue can be fixed.

D.Y., I am sorry for your problems. Your situation got me to thinking of one of the best Property Engineers I know so I reached out to him. Here’s what Tim Wentzel, PE and owner of Connecticut Property Engineering had to say:

“I would first question the comment that it is not a solvable problem. There would appear to be either an excess usage problem and/or a supply problem. Electrical supply can best be thought of like a water pipe if the pipe is too small or the pressure too low your volume will drop when someone else turns on the water. If the elevator usage problem (ie: the other faucet being turned on) is too big you need larger pipes. In your case perhaps the electric service needs to be increased either to your unit or to the elevator.”

My thoughts exactly, D.Y.. So the real question is how will you get your Board to take further corrective action? Since you are speaking with realtors, I assume you are now selling. Before you do so, I would speak with an attorney about what damages you may seek against the association and/or the utility company. No one wants to sue their association but, in this case, I do not see where you have any choice. You have done nothing wrong but you are being denied reasonable use of your property and there is now a documented fault with the unit that is being caused, wittingly or other, by a common element owned and operated by the association. As Tim Wentzel pointed out just because the problem has not been identified and solved yet this process isn’t over. I would definitely continue to fight until you get your power situation restored or a substantial settlement is reached. All the best!

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