Am I liable for the damage to the downstairs unit???????????

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Latest post Wed, Nov 23 2011 9:30 AM by adjuster jack. 13 replies.
  • Fri, Nov 18 2011 1:13 AM

    • Mia Hobbs
      Consumer
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    • Joined on Fri, Nov 18 2011
    • TX
    • Posts 7

    Am I liable for the damage to the downstairs unit???????????

    first, the overflow thing failed and caused a small hole downstairs. I have not repaired my bathroom yet, as I can simply not allow the water to get to the overflow point.

    then, my garbage disposal rusted through, causing a stain on their ceiling. I fixed my part right away.

    I was ready to pay for the damge, until they gave me an estimate that is 5 times more than expected. 

    Now they are saying sheet rock needs replacing in the living room, which doesn't make any sense to me, and the livivng room has never been mentioned.

    The estimates they are getting are $1200 - they are offering to use their insurance if I will pay their $500 deductable. 

     

     

     

     

  • Fri, Nov 18 2011 9:25 AM In reply to

    Re: Am I liable for the damage to the downstairs unit???????????

    No, you are not liable because you were not negligent.

    These were sudden and unforseen incidents.

    I suggest you tell your neighbor (just once) that you are not responsible and aren't paying anything and then don't engage in any further discussion with them on the matter.

    Your unit owners policy requires that you report their damands to your insurance company so you can be protected from any liability lawsuits that might ensue. I suggest you do that. Otherwise you prejudice your insurance company's right to investigate and that could leave you out in the cold if you do get sued.

    There are several recent discussions that explain the negligence aspect of condo claims:

    http://community.lawyers.com/search/SearchResults.aspx?q=condo&o=DateDescending&sd=10%2f18%2f2011&ed=11%2f18%2f2011

     

    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • Fri, Nov 18 2011 9:36 AM In reply to

    • Drew
      Consumer
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on Thu, Mar 30 2000
    • PA
    • Posts 49,655

    Re: Am I liable for the damage to the downstairs unit???????????

     

    But get stuff fixed--continued water problems due to known conditions you failed to  fix could be postured as negligence



  • Fri, Nov 18 2011 9:37 AM In reply to

    Re: Am I liable for the damage to the downstairs unit???????????

    Drew:

    But get stuff fixed--continued water problems due to known conditions you failed to  fix could be postured as negligence

    Absolutely.

    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • Fri, Nov 18 2011 11:38 PM In reply to

    • Mia Hobbs
      Consumer
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    • Joined on Fri, Nov 18 2011
    • TX
    • Posts 7

    Re: Am I liable for the damage to the downstairs unit???????????

    I live in TX - does that make a difference?

     

    2) could my condo association have a rule about this?

     

    3) I did fix the kitchen the day after they told me there was water stain downstairs.

     

    4) I plan on fixing the bathroom, of course. At the moment, no further water damage can occur because I don't let the water reach the overflow thing.

     

    5) I was worried about contacting my insurance because I do NOT want a mark with them!

     

    I had to make a claim 6 months ago for jewelry, and I had a claim in 2004 and 2003. There was a gap between coverage for two years after 2004. When I started up my policy again, they upped my rates due to the prior claims !

  • Fri, Nov 18 2011 11:55 PM In reply to

    • Mia Hobbs
      Consumer
    • Not Ranked
    • Joined on Fri, Nov 18 2011
    • TX
    • Posts 7

    Re: Am I liable for the damage to the downstairs unit???????????

    if they fix their ceiling before my bathroom is fixed, and in the fixing their celing is damaged again, would I be liabe for that?

    The only reason I put it off if the bathroom needs complete remodeling. I have been saving up. I do not want to pay for the tile to be ripped up twice.

    I am now in a position where I have no choice - it is just a matter of getting someone out here before they proceed with repairs in their unit

     

  • Sat, Nov 19 2011 12:20 PM In reply to

    Re: Am I liable for the damage to the downstairs unit???????????

    Mia Hobbs:

    I live in TX - does that make a difference?

     

    No. The laws of negligence are relatively universal and I knew where you were when I responded.

    Mia Hobbs:
    could my condo association have a rule about this?

    Possibly.

    You would have to study your CC&Rs to find it. Your CC&Rs are a contract that you agreed to comply with when you bought your unit. If the CC&Rs hold you strictly responsible for the downstairs damage, well, that's that. On the positive side, I've read hundreds of CC&Rs as a claim rep, and I haven't seen one that has trumped negligence law. Make sure you read it, though.

    Mia Hobbs:
    I did fix the kitchen the day after they told me there was water stain downstairs.

    Good.

    Just understand that fixing a problem after being notified about it is NOT an admission or proof of negligence.

    Mia Hobbs:
    I plan on fixing the bathroom, of course. At the moment, no further water damage can occur because I don't let the water reach the overflow thing.

    As long as you are sure you can prevent further damage you are OK.

    Mia Hobbs:
    I was worried about contacting my insurance because I do NOT want a mark with them!

    That's up to you but you end up taking the risk that they deny the claim because of not reporting it and then you'd have to pay your own lawyer if you got sued.

    Mia Hobbs:

    I had to make a claim 6 months ago for jewelry, and I had a claim in 2004 and 2003. There was a gap between coverage for two years after 2004. When I started up my policy again, they upped my rates due to the prior claims !

     

    Yes, and that could happen again.

    Mia Hobbs:

    if they fix their ceiling before my bathroom is fixed, and in the fixing their celing is damaged again, would I be liabe for that?

    Yes, if your failure to repair the problem causes new damage or exacerbates the old damage.

    Mia Hobbs:

    The only reason I put it off if the bathroom needs complete remodeling. I have been saving up. I do not want to pay for the tile to be ripped up twice.

    I am now in a position where I have no choice - it is just a matter of getting someone out here before they proceed with repairs in their unit

    One option is to have the plumbing problem repaired from below since they have to cut out the damaged drywall anyway.

     

    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • Mon, Nov 21 2011 8:23 AM In reply to

    • Mia Hobbs
      Consumer
    • Not Ranked
    • Joined on Fri, Nov 18 2011
    • TX
    • Posts 7

    Re: Am I liable for the damage to the downstairs unit???????????

    Does that mean that even if there is a rule here, that it may not be valid if it conflicts with Texas Law?

     

    Thank you SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much for your responses.

     

    I was willing to pay until they decided to get a whole new ceiling (not valid) on my dime. I do not desire to be taken advantage of.

  • Mon, Nov 21 2011 11:30 AM In reply to

    Re: Am I liable for the damage to the downstairs unit???????????

    Mia Hobbs:

    Does that mean that even if there is a rule here, that it may not be valid if it conflicts with Texas Law?

    Yes.

    Mia Hobbs:

    I was willing to pay until they decided to get a whole new ceiling (not valid) on my dime. I do not desire to be taken advantage of.

    Agree.

    That's why I tell people to clam up when somebody accuses them of something and asks for money.

    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • Mon, Nov 21 2011 9:50 PM In reply to

    • Mia Hobbs
      Consumer
    • Not Ranked
    • Joined on Fri, Nov 18 2011
    • TX
    • Posts 7

    Re: Am I liable for the damage to the downstairs unit???????????

    Here is the email from the prp. manager:

     

    According to TUCA, the unit owner shall pay for damage to the condominium caused by the negligence or willful misconduct of the owner, an occupant of the owner's unit, or the owner or occupant's family, guests, employees, contractors, agents or invitees.   In the Cloisters Declaration states "that if such damage is the result of the misuse or negligence of an Owner, then such Owner shall be responsible for all such damage."    However, in the Cloisters Rules and Regulations, section A-5, it states "Damages caused to units, common elements, or personal property of residents or their guests by negligence or otherwise are the responsibility of the owner of the condominium unit from which the damages arose. The person responsible for damages to condominium units, common areas, or personal property of residents or their guests (including air conditioning, water heating, and furnace equipment servicing owner's unit, and phone equipment, ducts and the electrical wiring, and the connections servicing such equipment) is required to fully compensate the damaged party for damages caused." It seems they'd want to get me there? Also, State Farm - they are not going to roll over an pay, are they? Too late for clamming up. We've been discussing this on and off for over a year. When the problem occurred in her ceiling, there is a maintenece company most of us use that came up to see if the problem was from up here. They determined it was (overflow in the bathtub). When the problem occurred in the kitchen, I'm sure I told them there had been a leak and I had fixed it. It never occured to me I *wouldn't* be responsible and I was never trying to get out of it. Like I said, I was willing to pay until they decided they need a new ceiling in the dang living room. The estimate for the bathroom + kitchen came in around $300 as expected - but all of a sudden there is $500 for the living room and some misc. charges because they are using a big, expensive company instead of our maintnece guys here. She had told me previously 'it won't be as much as your deductable. My brother in law can do it really cheap' to be fair - she is offering to use her insurance but seems to want me to pay the $500 deductable. I think I should pay the $300 originally agreed upon and she can do what she wants with it - put it toward her deductable, or just repair what actually occured and not spend any of her own money or make a claim.

  • Mon, Nov 21 2011 11:28 PM In reply to

    Re: Am I liable for the damage to the downstairs unit???????????

    What does TUCA mean?

     

    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • Tue, Nov 22 2011 11:51 PM In reply to

    • Mia Hobbs
      Consumer
    • Not Ranked
    • Joined on Fri, Nov 18 2011
    • TX
    • Posts 7

    Re: Am I liable for the damage to the downstairs unit???????????

    follow up email from my prop manager:

    If it something for which you are responsible, then ultimately, you would be responsible for the damages. For example, even though a hot water that breaks and damages a neighboring unit, the owner is responsible for repairing the damages to the neighboring units even though it wasn't negligent or done intentionally. I've seen owner's sue neighbors in court for damages from situations like these and the judge generally finds in the plaintiff's favor. Consequently, the person who is responsible for the damages has to pay for the repairs, but then is responsible for all court costs.

     

  • Wed, Nov 23 2011 9:30 AM In reply to

    Re: Am I liable for the damage to the downstairs unit???????????

    I'll leave it up to you to take the time to read TUCA.

    Here's what I think is the bad news.

    If TUCA establishes minimum standards and does not prohibit the expansion of those standards, and the condo rules and regulations were legally promulgated, then buying the condo contractually binds you to those rules and regulations and results in strict liability instead of just negligent liability.

    You can certainly decline to pay for the whole ceiling and insist on only paying for a patch. But I can tell you from my own experience, not only a claim rep, but as a homeowner who has done lots of drywall repair (and I'm as good as any pro), that the faint outlines of a drywall patch will be visible in the future. So I'm not sure you'd win on that point if it got to court.

    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
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