Board Damage Insurance

Seasonal HOA Common Wall Leak Causing Year-Round Unit Damage

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!

2 thoughts on “Seasonal HOA Common Wall Leak Causing Year-Round Unit Damage”

  1. Several years ago a property manager asked me to take al ook at a roof leak at a condo. I found the leak in 15 minutes. I also found some rot so I asked her if I could remove some siding and see the extent of the damage. So from the roofline at the top of the second floor down to the sills its was completly rotted.You could reach into the unit and turn on the tv. While waiting for the adjuster I went over to a couple units and remove some siding in the same location also found rot since they all had the same design.I didnt know it then but it had been leaking since 1993 and they put on a new roof to stop the issue and it didn’t. There was a load bearing beam that was rotted and this was a major project. I had to bring in a structural engineer. So my cost would of been around 30,000. Do you know what the association did they hired someone at half the cost and gave him a good size payment and he never returned,. I bumped into the unit owner a few months later and she told me what happened. They had to get the state to find this contractor. So to make a long story short. Find the leaks before they turn into 30,000 projects

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