J.G. from Cobb County, Georgia writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
I had a water pipe leak a few weeks ago. I contacted HOA as I didn’t know where the leak was coming from. They called a plumber, who found the leak. Pipe that serviced my unit only. I get the repair is my responsibility. The pipe was about 2 to 2.5 feet underground, under a bush (HOA is responsible for landscape). The pipe was not boxed nor identified. My question is who would be responsible for the cost of locating the main valve? Is there code for main shut off location or identification (all I see is there has to be one). I paid $1980.00 to repair the valve. The plumber sent HOA a bill for $1225 to find leak, remove bush and turn off water….you guessed it, HOA passed it to me. Thank you!
Mister Condo replies:
J.G., I am sorry for your troubles. Broken water pipes are always a challenge. The good news is that it was found and repaired. It sounds as though during the initial installation, some shortcuts may have been taken, especially if the main shut off valve was missing and the pipe wasn’t properly boxed or identified. Unfortunately, this is fairly common in large developments that go up quickly. As long as the developer received proper approval to build and passed whatever municipal inspection was required at the time, there isn’t too much you can do about it now. I actually had a similar situation at my own home and paid the plumber to install a water shut off for my home as it was missing when I purchased in my long-established HOA. You can go back and try to see what the code was when your home was built but even if you find it was done improperly, who are you going to sue? It would cost you more in legal fees to pursue a remedy than what you have already spent for the cure. If it were me, I would simply accept that there are costs of owning a home that we as homeowners simply must bear. You now have the peace of mind of knowing that you can shut off your water supply if there is ever another problem. All the best!