A.L. from New Haven County, Connecticut writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
A condo owner was negligent in that he had his unit vacant for the last 4 months and a water pipe in the bathroom burst causing damage to his unit and the unit next to his. He says association is responsible for repairs. Is that true?
Mister Condo replies:
A.L., the short answer is “it depends”. Negligent behavior is not always as simple as applying common sense to the situation like you and I would think. Negligent behavior with regards to condo upkeep and appropriate amount of care that must be provided to an individual unit is often a matter of what the condo documents state as appropriate and what constitutes negligence. If your condo rules and regulations do not address minimum maintenance standards such as what temperature a unit must be kept at or how often washing machine hoses must be changed to prevent burst pipes and other water damage, the battle for who will pay for the repair may take some time to sort out and even lead to a lawsuit where the association sues the unit owner and/or vice versa. This mess gets even trickier when insurance companies get involved. Needless to say, claims for damages that could have been easily prevented are a burden on the system and create higher premiums for associations.