Water Damaged Condo Unit Owner Reluctant to File Insurance Claim

mc_horrified

B.L. from Middlesex County writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

I purchased condo a little over a year ago. Previous owner remodeled bathroom. Work was not done properly – causing leak from shower & toilet to unit beneath mine. I should note that owner is not there for weeks & months at a time, so leak went unnoticed for some time, causing more damage. Obviously, owner upset – not his fault- but not my negligence either. I filed a claim with my insurance company which they denied, saying not my liability. Other owner refusing to file insurance claim, insisting I pay for repairs. Any thoughts?

Mister Condo replies:

B.L., I am sorry you are caught up in this mess. Regardless of whether or not the other unit owner wishes to file a claim, the damage is in his unit, which is what his insurance is for. If he is unwilling to file a claim, his only other option is to sue you in hopes of having you pay for his repairs. Unless he does that, I don’t see what further reason there is for you to discuss the matter with him further. You should likely speak to an attorney to protect yourself but you have done what you are supposed to do. You made the repair to your bathroom so there should not be any additional damage. You attempted a claim against your own insurance and they denied the portion of the claim that was for outside of your unit. I am not sure why this unit owner is reluctant to place a claim against his own policy unless he fears a rise in insurance cost for making the claim but that is not your problem. The whole reason you and he have homeowner’s insurance (most condo documents require that the unit owner carry homeowner’s insurance) is so that accidents like this are covered and repairs can be made. Additionally, the association may have damage as well, especially if the water intrusion from your unit damaged and common walls or floors/ceiling between units. The association should also consider mold remediation as any residual moisture may cause potential mold. Get a legal opinion to be sure but I think you have done all that you need to do. Good luck!

3 thoughts on “Water Damaged Condo Unit Owner Reluctant to File Insurance Claim

  1. In our building, this damage would be covered by the master insurance policy purchased by the Association, and the Board/Management would file the claim. Moreover, since the damage originated from components that only serve one Unit, that Unit Owner (i.e., the Unit Owner whose shower caused the leak) would be responsible for the master insurance policy deductible ($10,000), which would then be covered by his/her liability coverage (not dwelling coverage) under his/her HO-6 policy. The owner whose unit was damaged would have no liability based on the facts as described here. Again, every building’s governing documents are different, but we’ve had 6+ of these cases in the last few years, and it’s been handled the same each time.

    1. Michael
      I had similar issue last week with my neighbor toilet over flowing causing water damage to my unit. HOA said I should put a claim with my insurance to cover my repairs and that my neighbor is not responsible for such repairs. Can I take this matter to small claims court?
      Thank you.

  2. The comment above just about covers it all. The advise is sound and you should follow it and contact an Attorney just in case. Good luck.

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