D.R. from Hartford County, Connecticut writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Our condo association is fighting to not pay for damage done to our dry wall in our bedroom closet. The damage was done by the drain in the bathroom upstairs. According to the condo bylaws, the drain is considered a common element. Homeowner’s insurance won’t pay for it. They say it is the association’s responsibility as our association tore our bedroom closet apart and damaged our drywall to find the leaky drain problem. Once the leak was repaired, the damaged drywall was left unrepaired.
Mister Condo replies:
D.R., I am sorry to learn that neither your insurance company nor the association’s insurance company is willing to pay for the damage done to your drywall during the repair of this common element. Insurance coverage can be tricky when it comes to which insurance is responsible for damage done to individual units. A leaky roof may be covered by the master policy but the damage done to the interior of the unit is usually the unit owner’s responsibility, or in this case, the responsibility of the homeowner’s insurance. However, the damage to your unit wasn’t caused by the leaky drain but the contractor who was hired to repair the leaky drain. That may be where the confusion lies. Either way, you are getting a bum deal here and my advice is to either hire an attorney or make a small claim against the association for causing the damage. Do you have an estimate on the repair? Hire your own drywall contractor to get the repair done. You will be out of pocket on this expense but I don’t think it will be too expensive. Once the repair is complete, submit the bill to your association for payment. If they refuse, file a claim against them in small claims court (or civil court if the amount is large enough). I would think you would prevail as there is ample evidence that the association caused the damage. Hopefully, they will just pay the bill or convince their insurer to pay the bill rather than deal with being sued. It would likely cost them more to pay for an attorney to defend against the suit than it would be to just pay for the damage they caused. Good luck!