D.G. from Los Angeles, California writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
During a recent rainstorm there was a leak from the roof directly into the ceiling and down the inside of the wall in my unit. At the time, I e-mailed a letter including pictures and video to the HOA. The building manager had come into my unit to see the damage. There has been no attempt to repair the roof or the damage to my unit. The HOA has agreed that the damage to my unit is due to the damage from the roof and is their responsibility. They have sent 2 contractors into my unit to assess the situation, but the contractors prefer to do the work AFTER the HOA repair the roof so this will not be a repeated situation. What do I have to do to cause the HOA and management to repair the situation as soon as possible. It has been 7 months. Please advise. I do have proper Insurance, but I do not wish to be responsible for the deductible for their negligence. Thank you.
Mister Condo replies:
D.G., I am sorry for the damage to your unit. While I appreciate you not wanting to file a claim against your own insurance, I am not sure what the HOA is offering to do for you. Typically, the HOA is responsible only for the damage to the common elements. In this case, that would be the leak in the roof and any common walls, floors, or ceilings in the closed spaces between you and your neighbor’s units. Interior damage is almost always covered by the homeowner’s insurance. 7 months seems like an unreasonable amount of time to wait for a roof repair. Has the HOA explained the delay or given you a time estimate for when the repair will happen? Isn’t the roof still leaking every time it rains? While I appreciate you not wanting to make a claim for the damage to your unit against your own policy, this is exactly what your insurance policy is for. You need the damage repaired and I would imagine you will also need mold remediation after 7 months of soggy walls. If the leak is ongoing, you will want to alert your insurer who might be able to apply pressure to the association to get the repair done quicker. You might also wish to speak with your own attorney to see if a lawsuit against the association is in order. You need to have the association damage repaired quickly so you can avoid further damage to your unit. If you persist in waiting for the HOA to pay for the damage in your unit, you might have to wait until they have the money available. Your insurer will very likely pay you much faster and allow you to get the damage inside your unit corrected quickly. All the best!