G.L. from New Haven County writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
The Board of Directors refuse to have a painter fix a rather small area in my dining room ceiling and wall that cracked open after last years snow and rain storms. They say the snow came down from the sliding doors of the apt. above, so it is that owner’s problem to pay for. I told them it had to go thru the common elements in the ceiling first to get to me but they ignore that fact. Do I sue?
Mister Condo replies:
G.L., I am sorry for your water-related condo damage. The short answer as to whether or not you should sue depends on a few factors for me. First off, I am not an attorney, so please think of this advice as friendly rather than legal. If you need legal advice, kindly avail yourself of the services of a qualified attorney.
Assigning blame for the water damage is key to the association’s action. If the water did in fact come through a neighbor’s sliding door, they may have a case to deny your claim and you may have a case against your neighbor and/or your neighbor’s insurance policy to cover the cost of repairs of associated damage to your neighbor’s unit. I think I would start there as it may be as simple as having a claim made against the neighbor’s policy and you’ll be all fixed up. Also, do you have your own homeowner’s policy? You might be able to make a claim against your own policy and call it a day. From what you have told me, this was an accident. That’s what insurance is for…
However, if neither the neighbor’s policy nor your own will cover your repair costs, you have a decision to make. Do you have a quote from a painter to handle the painting you seek? Is it a lot of money? If so, it may be worth hiring an attorney or filing a small claim and suing your neighbor, the association, and anyone else involved (insurers). If not, you may be throwing good money after bad. If the paint repair can be done for $100 or so, I think I might just hire the painter and get it done as a practical matter. Your time and effort in bringing a lawsuit may be worth far more than the cost of the painting job. Best of luck to you in clearing up this matter.