M.D. from New Haven County writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Water is leaking into my unit from the condo upstairs. The plumber is fixing that unit’s bathroom. How can I stay downstairs with a hole in the bathroom ceiling? The hole is large enough that bad fumes come from upstairs into my unit. Help!
Mister Condo replies:
M.D., I am sorry for your problems. Water intrusion events like yours are not all that uncommon in multi-level buildings where an upstairs water problem creates an issue for downstairs residents. I assume you have alerted all of the people who need to know about this issue. Your property manager, your Board, your insurance company, and perhaps even an attorney may be needed to rectify this situation for you. The plumber needs to stop the leak from upstairs and make the repair to prevent further water damage. Sounds like that work is being done.
Your unit obviously needs to be repaired. Depending on what insurance is held by your association, your upstairs neighbor, and you, one or more of the policies should come into play. The insurance I am interested in for you is your homeowner’s policy, also known as HO-6 here in Connecticut. You may have a clause that will pay for your accommodation outside of your home in the event that the unit is uninhabitable. You should contact your agent and see if your insurance will pay to house you temporarily in a hotel while these repairs are made. Also, you may need to speak with an attorney to see what recourse you have to get your repairs taken care of as soon as possible so as to minimize your loss of your unit.
The bottom line is that this is an unfortunate situation that will require you to take action to remedy. Squeaky wheel will get the grease so make sure you have involved all of the key players to get your problem resolved. Good luck!