K.J. from Fairfax County, Virginia writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
I have water damage to my unit (and my downstairs neighbor’s unit) caused by a leak behind my shower wall. My downstairs neighbor noticed it and her plumber identified the problem. My home warranty covered the repair. When I filed a claim with my insurance for damages and remediation, they said these were covered under the master policy. The master policy insurance agreed it was a covered claim (in writing). However, the association is withdrawing the claim to pay for the repairs themselves (so far, they have dragged the process out for two months). What rights do I have regarding the contractor chosen to do the work, ensuring the scope of work is accomplished and adequate, and can I still submit claims for damages to any improvements (i.e. the new floors I had installed just before the incident) to my insurance company. Furthermore, how do the deductibles come into play now that the association is paying out of pocket? All discussions about this decision have been in executive session of the board meetings and the condo association is providing limited communication.
Mister Condo replies:
K.J., I am sorry you had a water leak and intrusion event in your condo. I am sure the damage and inconvenience have been difficult to deal with. Now you are at the association’s discretion over the choice of contractor to make the repairs. It really boils down to who is hiring and paying for the contractor. As you have noted, that is the association. The association’s burden is typically defined as making your unit whole and not much more. While it is very likely that you will be satisfied with the repair, you may still need to put in a claim with your own insurer for other damage incurred inside of your unit, such as the upgrades you claim have been damaged. In the event that your insurer pushes back, it may be time to contact an attorney to make sure you are made whole. Insurance companies do have a history of pointing fingers when it comes to honoring claims, especially those claims that touch upon grey areas of responsibility. Then again, it may just go perfectly in your favor. Good luck!