J.R. from Brockton, Massachusetts writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Mister Condo replies:
J.R., I am sorry for the loss of your condo building due to fire. Rebuilding after a fire is a potential nightmare for both unit owners and the association as it is not unusual for there to be severe damage to multiple units, supporting structures, and even building infrastructure. Utility services like electric, HVAC, and even water are often damaged as well. To further complicate the repair process is the process of insurance claims and adjustments that can go on for months (and even years in severe cases).
The Board has very little power to control how long things take to happen. It is in all parties’ best interests to get things repaired and back to normal but there also needs to be readily available monies to pay for the repairs and restore the building. During the rebuilding time, common fees and even special assessments are still due and payable to the association even though the units remain uninhabitable. In the best case scenario, all unit owners had personal homeowner’s insurance policies that cover some or all of the expenses of temporary housing while the repairs are made. Even the best policy will eventually run out of housing money so, again, it is in everyone’s best interest to make the units habitable again as soon as possible.
My advice is to keep in touch with the Board or the Property Manager to get updates on what is being done and when repairs are expected to be complete. If the insurance proceeds are not coming in fast enough, you might ask the Board to consider a short-term loan to free up the funds needed for the repairs with all of the insurance money eventually collected being used to retire the debt. It is an unfortunate situation to say the least. Hang in there, J.R., and know that it will get better eventually. All the best!