P.D. from Virginia writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
I live in townhome in that’s part of a 26-unit condo community. 4 years ago, we had our flat roof replaced. Condo board hired roofing company and we were all assessed a fee to cover the cost. Once they began my section, it rained for 2 weeks, so the roof was partially gone and they covered it with tarps until weather was better and they were able to continue the work.
6 months after the new roof, 4 attached units started seeing problems (cracks, bubbles and discoloration) in the front walls and ceiling of their master bedrooms. 2 units (both rentals) decided to do the quick fix and patch, repair and paint. The other two (myself being owner of one) alerted the Board of Directors and asked the protocol of dealing with this type of issue. They’ve not been responsive and I’m not sure how best to handle the situation.
The other affected unit has had the plaster removed from her front BR wall, and mold was found. It’s not toxic, but has been treated. An engineer she had look at the damage, suggested that she leave the wall (brick and cement block) exposed to see if she could trace where moisture was entering the unit. Neither of us have seen actual water damage (leaks or wetness to the touch), just cracks and bubbles in the paint on walls and ceiling.
I have had someone in to repair the damage. He suggested repairing (and not removing plaster and putting up drywall) and repainting. He did the work, and it looked fine, for 2 weeks. Then bubbles and cracks reemerged in the same spots he had covered. I mentioned it to him, and he came back to fix and said he would use a different solution to cover the spots/sand and paint again.
He also suggested that the building (built in 1955) be waterproofed and sealed from the outside, which should have been done when the buildings were painted 5 years ago, but apparently were not. The other unit also received the same advice, saying that the problem would most likely reoccur if nothing was done to prevent the elements from entering through exterior walls.
The painters and the roofers (different businesses) were hired by the condo board. If they (condo board) continue to not respond to either of us, and not reimburse us for damages, should we make a legal case? I’ve already spent $2,000 in repairing (and mold test) my unit.
Mister Condo replies:
P.D., I am at a loss for the damage that you and your neighbors have suffered. When the Board hired the contractor to do this repair, they also took on the responsibility for any damage caused by the contractor. This is just one of the reasons associations should ALWAYS hire reputable vendors with proof of insurance. In your closing sentence you ask “should we make a legal case”? YES, YOU SHOULD! Ideally, the Board would simply go after the contractor for the faulty work and the contractor would either settle or submit an insurance claim. End of story. If the Board is unwilling to chase down the contractor, you may need to sue the Board. If the vendor won’t make good to the association, then the association (the Board) may need to sue the contractor. End of story 2. Anything less is unacceptable to the association and the affected unit owners. Go get ‘em! All the best!