T.S. from Fairfax County, Virginia writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Testing results indicate that there is moisture (water) and “fungal growth” in the wall cavity between my bedroom drywall and the external brick wall of our high-rise condominium. Remediation specialists are recommending that the drywall be taken down, contained, and removed from the premises along with remediation and antimicrobial treatment of the wall cavity. There will also be a cost to build back what will be taken down. There is a known issue with water coming into the inner wall cavity from missing mortar between the external bricks on the outside walls of the building. Isn’t the Condominium Association responsible for the remediation clean-up costs? How can I obtain reimbursement for my costs?
Mister Condo replies:
T.S., I am sorry that you have had this problem and resulting damage to your condo. Moisture and water damage are always a challenge in high-rise condos because of the “hidden” damage such as you describe here. Your own insurance should cover any damage to your interior but the damage you are describing is to items that are likely association-owned. Ongoing damage from missing mortar is a construction defect that the association owns and must repair. If they are unwilling to do this, you are going to have a repeat of your current problem. As for the remediation of the existing mold, your insurer may be willing to work with you on the cost of drywall repair inside your unit. If not, you can request the HOA pay for the repair but they may not have to do so. The real problem here is the potential for mold, mildew, and long-term health problem potentials. My advice is to speak with your insurer to see what they will cover. Then speak with your Board about the current and underlying problem to see what they will offer to repair and pay for. If you are not satisfied with the HOA’s response, it is time to consult with an attorney. It is quite possible that a lawsuit will be needed to settle who is responsible for the costs associated with this repair that must be done. All the best!