D.M. from Miami, Florida writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
I live in a single house in a gated community with a HOA that I pay monthly dues to. The HOA hired Florida Power and Light (FPL) to place street lights throughout our community. Back in 2016, the street light that was supposed to be placed 5 feet away from my property was placed 3 feet inside my property. After many phone calls and letters to my HOA and FPL, they finally removed it from my property and placed it where it was supposed to go in the first place, 5 feet out of my property. Unfortunately for me, the contractor damaged my water pipe valve and 3 months later I received a huge bill of $778.04. My husband immediately turned off the main water valve. I called and emailed the HOA, FPL and The Water & Sewer department. Water & Sewer department says I must pay the bill. The HOA and FPL said I must hire a plumber to fix it and then put a claim to the claims department through FPL to request a reimbursement from them. Since the HOA was the one who hired the contractor, shouldn’t the HOA pay the plumber and fix the damages to my home and also pay the water bill, then they should be the one to file a claim for reimbursement? After all, why should I be the one to do all the leg work, and pay out of pocket for something that I didn’t nor had anything to do with causing the damage?
Mister Condo replies:
D.M., I am sorry that you find yourself on the short end of this unfortunate chain of events. I am not an attorney and offer no legal advice in this column but I think that if the dollar amount in question is significant for your then you should seek the advice of counsel to see if you have a case and what you might expect to reclaim from your losses. I am glad that FPL made good on the botched installation. It is unfortunate that they damaged a water line on your property but, since you are the person responsible for service to your home, I can see where the Water and Sewer Department insist that you pay for the lost water. As far as further damages, that is where the attorney comes in. Your logic sounds fine to me but there is also the reality of the cost of bringing suit against the various players involved. As far as being inconvenienced by having to tend to this yourself, I appreciate your frustration but, unfortunately, this is very likely to be your headache. After all, it is your property and you are the owner. I am hopeful that between insurance claims and the players doing right by you, you shouldn’t be too inconvenienced or out of too much money. All the best!