Bought condo with known leak from ceiling, remedy for damage

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Latest post Wed, Mar 1 2017 7:50 AM by karen2222. 7 replies.
  • Sun, Feb 26 2017 7:13 AM

    • Nitronikon
      Consumer
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    • CA
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    Bought condo with known leak from ceiling, remedy for damage

    Hello all,

    I tried searching for previous posts of similar nature and read through them.  I couldn't find a situation similar to mine therefore I am posting.

    Synopsis: I bought a top story condo.  I was previously renting the same unit and I reported leaks from the ceiling to HOA and penthouse owner.  The penthouse owner tried to fix the leak but the leak continued.  The floors were subsequently damaged.  The Penthouse owner has in the past purchased new mattresses for the previous tenant due to damage from the leaks.

    Fast forward, I bought the unit.  There was a storm here in SoCal and it leaked very badly.  HOA acknowledges they need to fix the leaks.  My neighbor next to me, faced similar problems.  HOA admitted they are responsible but is also willing to fix his floors.  They are denying responsibility in fixing mine.  The difference is that his floor damage was new and stated there was no damage from before.  

    Question: Do I have any grounds for getting my floors repaired by the HOA or Penthouse owner?  Since I bought the unit with this known problem, does that relieve the HOA of responsibility?  Or, since the previous owners reported the issues, am I able to continue the previous owner's dialogue to claim to get the HOA or Penthouse owner to repair the floor?

    Thanks all.

     

     

     

  • Sun, Feb 26 2017 12:50 PM In reply to

    • DOCAR
      Lawyer
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    Re: Bought condo with known leak from ceiling, remedy for damage

    Depends entirely upon the terms of the covenants and restrictions that you agreed to when you bought the unit. Did you read them?

  • Sun, Feb 26 2017 4:26 PM In reply to

    • Drew
      Consumer
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    • Joined on Thu, Mar 30 2000
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    Re: Bought condo with known leak from ceiling, remedy for damage

    ALso might matter if the roof was supposedly repaired and by whom ...as well as the covenants and disclosures as above .  BTW! If you bought a unit with known leak issues..what steps,did you take before the deal closed to be sure roof was fixed or responsibility continued past closing by seller...



  • Mon, Feb 27 2017 9:58 AM In reply to

    • Nitronikon
      Consumer
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    • CA
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    Re: Bought condo with known leak from ceiling, remedy for damage

    Thanks for responding all - in short I screwed up and need to do further digging.

    So, I screwed up as a first time home buyer and did not take measures to ensure that I can continue the argument for having my floors repaired/etc by HOA or Penthouse owner.  I was simply excited, which is not relevant anyway.  This is simply potentially an expensive lesson learned the hard way.  Therefore I am seeking expert advice from all of you.  Much appreciated by the way.

    I need to comb through the documents in more detail, covenant, rules, etc.  So far I am finding descriptions that basically state the HOA is repsonsible for the infrastructure of the building.  Owners are responsible in wall of the units.  If an owner is doing something that causes damage to another unit, they are responsible.  However, if they are utilizing a structural feature, like a gas lined bbq and water from rain is leaking through the pipe's ceiling hole, it seems to be an HOA responsibility.  I don't see language regarding transferrence of issues yet.  I'll need to read more but have been busy.  

    Something that may be pertinent, is that my neighbor received verbal admittance of responsibility by HOA president and Penthouse owner.  They both state they will follow up with both HOA building insurance and the penthouse owner's insurance to cover damage caused by structural leak of pipe and roof.  Note that previously, the penthouse owner tried fixing but the fix failed.  He is also on the HOA board.  I found out the board also met privately, and have confirmed that they do not plan to extend the same offer to me.  Although it was clear there were structural leaks, and have in the past replaced previous tenant mattresses as they were damaged from leaking ceilings, they wont cover cost of any repair to my floors as it is unclear if the currently leaks have caused new damage.  This makes me think they know they're responsible, but think their insurance[s] will be unable to cover any claim.

  • Mon, Feb 27 2017 12:21 PM In reply to

    Re: Bought condo with known leak from ceiling, remedy for damage

    Nitronikon:
    Do I have any grounds for getting my floors repaired by the HOA or Penthouse owner?

    No way to know without reading the CC&Rs and other governing documents.

     

    Nitronikon:
    Since I bought the unit with this known problem, does that relieve the HOA of responsibility?

    Entirely possible.

  • Tue, Feb 28 2017 6:47 PM In reply to

    Re: Bought condo with known leak from ceiling, remedy for damage

    Nitronikon:
    There was a storm here in SoCal and it leaked very badly.  HOA acknowledges they need to fix the leaks.

    First question:  did you buy unit-owner's insurance when you bought your unit?  Is the storm damage covered, as far as you can tell from reading your policy?  If so, you should be able to dump the whole problem in your insurance company's lap.

    If you did NOT buy condo unit owner's insurance, why not?  OK, rhetorical question.

    On the assumption that you either had no insurance or you did but the damage isn't covered:

    What the condo association owes you under the law depends on whether your damage was caused by the association's negligence, unless there is something in the condo association governing documents that overrules that general principle.  Ditto for the penthouse owner.

    Nitronikon:
    since the previous owners reported the issues, am I able to continue the previous owner's dialogue to claim to get the HOA or Penthouse owner to repair the floor?

    I suspect that depends on whether the previous owner signed away any of the unit's rights, which he might have done if the HOA or penthouse owner already paid for his flooring damage.  Did any such agreement show up in the title report that I hope you insisted on receiving before you closed on your purchase?

  • Wed, Mar 1 2017 4:50 AM In reply to

    • Drew
      Consumer
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    • Joined on Thu, Mar 30 2000
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    Re: Bought condo with known leak from ceiling, remedy for damage

    Not clear in post if HOA attempted a roof fix or prior owner tried it .  HOA might not be accountable for botched homeowner repairs ? 

    HOA may be on hook to,repair roof but not interior damage unless you can prove negligence...like they botched a repair and they were on written notice of same ...

    BTW what was/is actual leak source and has it been fixed .

     



  • Wed, Mar 1 2017 7:50 AM In reply to

    Re: Bought condo with known leak from ceiling, remedy for damage

    Nitronikon:
    Although it was clear there were structural leaks, and have in the past replaced previous tenant mattresses as they were damaged from leaking ceilings, they wont cover cost of any repair to my floors as it is unclear if the currently leaks have caused new damage.

    Always when you sue someone, you have to prove your damages.  If the original flooring damage was not caused by anyone's negligence, then you as the owner are on the hook to pay for your own repairs resulting from that event.  Did you pay a fair price for the condo as-is, flooring damage and all?

    So with respect to the recent storm damage the first question is, was that recent leak damage caused by anyone's negligence?  If the condo association knew the roof leaked prodigiously during wet weather and did not take reasonable steps to prevent further damage, that would probably constitute negligence on their part.

    But the second question is, were you actually harmed by this latest leak event?  If neither you nor the previous owner of your unit has yet repaired the previous damage, and the recent leak did no additional damage (only re-wetted the same ruined flooring), then even if the association was negligent this time around you can't include the cost to replace that flooring in your claim for damages.

    I should caution you that all of the above is true if there is nothing in the condo governing documents to contradict it.  Some condos have wording aimed at preventing the association from having to pay out of pocket for damage to units.  Look for wording that specifically discusses the association's master insurance policy.

     

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