R.C. from Cook County, Illinois writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
I have been experiencing water moisture in the kitchen of my condo. The two walls are indeed exterior walls. The moisture is coming from the exterior I am almost 99% sure and NOT from the unit above. As a result, there is mold growing. I had an air quality test done to confirm the mold. Are the limited common elements such as the perimeter walls a responsibility of the condo association? In this case since the water is coming in from the outside, aren’t they responsible for fixing all the drywall and studs? I have to gut my entire kitchen to properly access the damage and someone needs to fix it before I put in a new kitchen. Thanks for all your help in this matter.
Mister Condo replies:
R.C., I am sorry that you are experiencing mold in your home. You are wise to have the air quality tested as mold can be deadly over time. As for responsibility for what items, it is hard for me to give you a firm answer. “Limited common elements” is a tricky term when it comes to unit interiors. Shared walls with neighbors are typically owned from the drywall in by the owner. That leaves a shell between the two units. That shell may also be owned by the unit owners, depending on how the documents were written, which brings us to the legal opinion you should seek. Typically, if the building envelope is leaking or has had water intrusion, the leak should be fixed by the association before the repair begins. Have you asked the association how to proceed? Are they acknowledging that there is a leak from the outside? This is one more question for the attorney. I assume you have homeowner’s insurance, which should cover your interior damage and may even pay towards the mold remediation. The association may have insurance to help with their own needed repairs from this leak although many associations prefer to keep their claims down to keep their premiums down. Either way, if they have liability they will need to make the repairs. Hopefully, once you are dried out, you can get your unit back in safe and habitable order. Good luck!