M.F. from Tolland County, Connecticut writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Our complex had about 30 units take in water in the basement do to sump pumps couldn’t handle the run off or weren’t working. First, aren’t the homeowners responsible for insurance on their units? Second, why should I be responsible for their units, when I paid for full coverage on my unit? The association said it’s because of community law in CT.
Mister Condo replies
:M.F., I am sorry that so many of your neighbors took damage due to basement water and failed sump pumps. It is a common problem facing just about any condominium with a basement in areas where the water table frequently surpasses the basement floor. Rain, snow, any event that effects the water table typically causes flooding. Sump pumps are a reasonable deterrent provided they are well maintained, replaced often, and operating at capacity. Of course, power outages often accompany storms, rendering the pumps useless. As far as insurance requirements for individual units go, it is true that the interior of units should be covered by the homeowner’s policy and should not cost the association to cover losses to unit interiors. I am not aware of a law that would require the association to pay but I am also not fully aware of your governing documents and cannot offer you a legal opinion as I am not an attorney. Arguably, insurers having to cover damage to 30 units might seek relief by suing the association for improper maintenance of their sump pumps seeing as so many failed. It could be that it is less expensive to cover the damage than to fight a lawsuit. I am sure the Board had their reasons for making the decision they did. The real question is how will they maintain the pumps moving forward and how can they mitigate future damage. As a member of the association, you have a right to ask why the money is being spent as it is and you have the right to vote for different Board members if you don’t care for how they are handling the association’s business. All the best!