A.Y. from outside of Connecticut writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
I wonder should the HOA be responsible for repair of interior damage caused by exterior leaks? We live in a townhome and since this summer we started to notice moisture damage on our hardwood floor along the baseboard/molding of a wall facing the backyard (not a shared wall). It’s visible that small amount of moisture sitting on the floor just along the baseboards and the floors showed discoloration. It’s been three months and now they all of a sudden refused to do anything. And now it’s Fall and the temp difference is not that obvious. I can’t re-create the scene that initially caused the damage. What are our options now and should we contact an attorney?
Mister Condo replies:
A.Y., I apologize for having to edit your question to make it a good bit shorter. I think it is fair to say that you have had quite the ordeal trying to get this damage repaired by your HOA. Here’s my two cents on the subject matter. It would appear that your home (and perhaps others in the HOA) are suffering intermittent damage from what could best be described as a construction defect. Had this been noticed when the units were built, the builder could have been sued and forced to fix the problem before the HOA took ownership of the buildings. Now that they own the buildings and the builder is out of the picture, your complaint is directly against the HOA. Typically, the HOA is not responsible for damage to the interior of a unit. That is what your homeowner’s insurance is for. However, if the damage is being caused by a known defect that the HOA is refusing to correct, you may have a case. I am not an attorney and offer no legal advice in this column. Since you asked about whether or not you should speak with an attorney, my answer is “yes”. If the HOA refuses to repair the defect on their own, you may well need to sue them to get them to make the needed, and likely expensive, repairs. Keep in mind that you and your fellow homeowners may well have to pony up some additional monies in the form of a Special Assessment or increased common fees to pay for this remediation as you are all members of the HOA but it is likely the only way you will see any action on the problem. You’ve tried everything else, the lawsuit may be your only remaining remedy. All the best!