J.J. from Illinois writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Hi! We just recently bought and moved (less than 3 weeks ago) into a duplex down condo. A few days ago, we noticed water coming in behind the walls and up through some crack on the floor (we had removed carpet already). By the time we got a plumber to come out the common storage area was flooded and our lower level had water coming from behind almost all of the walls. Turns out the ejector pump which is held in the common area next to our lower level had broken. A company came and said since it could be sewage water that all dry wall 2 feet off the floor needs to be torn out and we currently have 30 fans running downstairs for the last couple days.
The condo insurance adjuster came and said that they will only provide $5k in coverage which probably won’t even cover the tear down and the equipment they have down there. Our own insurance doesn’t cover this type of damage.We now have no drywall or insulation 2 feet off the ground on all of our walls. Adding insult to injury, we had JUST repainted all of the walls. My question, who is financially responsible to get our lower level back into working order? What should the condo association pay for and what are we stuck with paying? We also lost some personal property due to the water as well.
Mister Condo replies:
J.J., that is just awful! I am so sorry for the damage and financial loss you are suffering with your new condo. I am not an attorney so I can only offer friendly advice here. My first recommendation is that you speak with an attorney to determine what legal rights you have as I suspect that the association has more responsibility here than the $5K you are offered from their insurer. First off, you mention that your own insurance claims it doesn’t cover this kind of damage. Why not? This is another conversation for your attorney and a review of your policy. The damage, while caused outside of your unit, directly affected the inside of your unit. You should certainly be able to claim any of your belongings that were covered under the policy. This is the very definition of homeowners’ insurance and while I get that they don’t want to cover you, they may have to or you may have to sue them to get them to cover. Your insurer, in turn, may wish to sue the condo association but that is not your concern. Of course, you need to have your unit properly cleaned, restored, and sanitized so you can enjoy it. You should also inquire about the ejector pump that failed. How often is it serviced? How often is it replaced? Does it have a history of failure? The good news is that it isn’t likely to happen again any time soon but you want to make sure the association is doing all that it can to make sure that it never happens again. I hope you have a speedy and healthy resolution to this problem so you can begin enjoying your new condo. Good luck!