J.C. from Harris County, Texas writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
The roof has leaked in my townhouse condo and caused damage to some of personal effects. Who pays? Who pays the deductible? Also, one of the original galvanized pipes in the wall, has been leaking apparently for some time. The HOA says the pipe belongs to me as it serves my unit and I am afraid my insurance, Nationwide may refuse the necessary repairs to the structure of the building. This damage was revealed when their plumber came and found the problem. My point here is that the leak was not under the sink or anywhere else where I could have seen it and repaired it. Inside the wall with no evidence anywhere of a leak. Thank you again for your time.
Mister Condo replies:
J.C., I am sorry for your problems. The answer to your first question is you. You are responsible for the deductible portion of your insurance. I know that seems cruel seeing as the HOA’s roof has failed but that is what insurance is for. The good news is that you can replace your belongings and only be out of pocket for the deductible. Responsibility and ownership of a pipe leaking inside a wall is a different story. The fact that you can’t see the pipe or the leak without investigation really doesn’t figure into ownership. Regardless of who the pipe serves, you alone or you and several other units, the governance documents should detail who owns what. Typically, unit owners own from the walls in, meaning the pipe from the sink to the wall is yours. Once it crosses the boundary of the wall, it often becomes the association’s responsibility. That being said, there are always exceptions. Just because the HOA says so doesn’t make it true. You need to review your governing documents and/or hire an attorney for a professional opinion on the matter. Once you determine who owns the pipe, you will know who is responsible for the repair. All the best!