D.D. from Middlesex County writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
My unit was damaged for the second time in 4 months from the unit above mine. I have water stains on my ceiling from water running out of the upstairs neighbor’s shower when they use it. The unit owner above me has caused serious water damage in the bathroom and refuses to repair it or my ceiling.
Mister Condo replies:
D.D., neighbor issues at condos can be quite trying and I certainly feel your pain. Whether it is noise from an adjoining unit or a small flood from above, getting your neighboring unit owner to behave properly can involve attorneys and lawsuits. It sounds to me like you have done the polite thing and asked the neighbor to pay for the damage, which he has refused. Your next step is to either file a claim in small claims court or hire an attorney to bring suit against your neighbor. Sometimes the very action of being sued will help the offending unit owner “see the light” and correct the behavior as well as pay for the damage already caused. If you seek the help of an attorney, be sure to ask if you can claim the attorney’s fees in your suit. There is no reason you should be out of pocket for this expense. Also, consider the possibility of mold remediation as part of the repair. Wet ceilings can often be the beginning of a much larger and potentially more dangerous mold problem. Be sure to get that addressed at the same time. All the best!