J.D. from New Haven County, Connecticut writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Our condo was purchased 5.5 years ago with a finished basement. A year after purchase, the basement flooded. We put in a claim with our homeowners’ insurance, but also entered a complaint with the HOA. They determined there are foundation defects in our unit and our entire building. We live with sump pumps in our window wells to prevent another flood and recently found that our basement contains mold and water is seeping in slowly into a child’s bedroom in the basement. What is our recourse?
Mister Condo replies:
J.D., I am truly sorry for the water intrusion and mold issues in the basement of your condo. Basement flooding in low-lying areas is a real problem for many Connecticut home and condo owners because so much real estate was built on grounds that have high water levels. It is almost impossible for a foundation to withstand such pressure. Over time, it only gets worse. I am sure you are not alone in this problem. It is time to speak with your fellow homeowners to discuss how much flooding is happening throughout the condo. Ideally, the Board will take steps to remedy the flooding. However, understand that the process of restoring dry basements can be very expensive. Even if there is a construction defect as your insurer has pointed out, the odds of recovery against a builder so many years after the condo was built is unlikely although you might want to get an opinion from an attorney who specializes in construction defect litigation before the association takes on the entire expense by itself. Many communities simply live with sump pumps as they are an inexpensive solution. As long as they are properly maintained and kept in good working order, they have been a proven solution. As for mold remediation, that needs to happen soon. Uncheck, mold can become toxic and make residents sick or worse. Bring the matter to the Board’s attention and speak to your neighbors about their problems. The association needs to consider solutions. All the best!