Board Damage Governance Insurance

Failed Condo Building Maintenance Leads to Bigger Problem

R.W. from outside of Connecticut writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

A downspout (a rather large one) broke, allowing water to cascade down the side of the wall. My condo association was lax on fixing the tuckpointing of the building for 7 years and this allowed water to enter the sill above my window, and several other entry points. This caused damage to my drywall and window sill. I’ve checked with my insurance, the master policy and spoke to an insurance adjuster, whom all claim that drywall on an outside facing wall is an association expense (the damage is about $1000). I feel that I might not have right wording for my association to understand that this is their expense. My wording is: Drywall and insulation is an association expense on a wall that is on the side of the building. Thank you for your help.

Mister Condo replies:

R.W., I am sorry for your predicament. When associations put off maintenance for whatever reason, it almost always leads to bigger problems down the road. In this case, water damage that might otherwise have been avoided has created a big problem for you and your association. To further complicate matters, it looks like the Board of your association doesn’t understand what is and isn’t the association’s responsibility. I don’t think it is a question of how you word the problem, they simply don’t seem to understand the difference between unit owner and association responsibility when it comes to repairing damaged common elements such as the drywall, which is apparently owned by the association. Alert the Board to their responsibility and include a note from one of insurance or adjuster people to help them understand. If they still don’t make the repair, you have two choices. You can simply ignore the damage as it is to their property and not yours or you can vote these folks off the Board and run for the Board yourself or with other unit owners who will do a better job maintaining the association. Understand this, it is my experience that Boards that don’t properly maintain their associations often do so because there isn’t enough money being collected to properly maintain the association. You and your fellow unit owners may need to pony up higher monthly common fees to fund these repairs. You may even need to levy a special assessment. Neither will be popular with fellow unit owners but may very well be needed to solve your problem. All the best!

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