Does HOA Cover Plumbing Damage?
Like it or not, plumbing failures are an unfortunate part of owning a condo subject to a condo association. A serious problem arises when the Condo Association Board decides that it will not cover the damage to property resulting from water caused by a plumbing failure, such as a pipe bursting. Let’s answer the question, “Does HOA cover plumbing damage?”
Check the Associations Governing Documents for a Water Intrusion Policy
Is the HOA responsible for water damage? The answer to this question is often found within the governing documents. The best records will be thorough and meticulous, often with a section on condo association water damage responsibility, specifying exact situations and who should be held accountable to repair the damage. Usually, the documents are accessible in HOA management software. Check to see if there is an HOA water intrusion policy.
If the water damage results from negligence by the condominium association, the homeowner should not be responsible for the repairs. Additionally, if the water damage was caused because the association failed to complete their necessary maintenance or upkeep of plumbing responsibilities, the homeowner should not be held liable. In that case, the association is responsible for the damages to the property caused by water damage.
In most, if not all, the governing documents will usually state who is responsible for repairing water pipes in the condo. The papers will generally specify that any interior damage due to water is the responsibility of the homeowner, while any water damage affecting the exterior of the home, such as shingles or paint, is the responsibility of the condo association’s exterior maintenance duties. Having detailed documentation on the HOA Website will help alleviate confusion on what is covered.
Responsibility is Addressed in the CC&R’s
Generally speaking, the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs) will define “common area” and “exclusive use common area.” The effective CC&Rs will be clear whether or not the HOA covers plumbing. The resulting dispute occurs when the Condo Association Board assumes that a particular plumbing fixture constitutes an “exclusive use common area” to pass the responsibility and expense on to the homeowner.
So, when exactly is water damage the HOA responsibility and when is it the homeowner’s responsibility? What can a condo association and homeowner do after encountering such damages? Lastly, what are the HOA’s plumbing responsibilities? Since there are idiosyncrasies that come along with each circumstance, here are some things you can prepare for should this circumstance arise.
Determine the Cause of the Plumbing Issue or Water Leak
When determining who should pay for the repairs, cases may be handled very differently, depending on the cause of the damage. You may wonder who is responsible for water damage in a condo? As an example, a leaking pipe inside the unit will usually be the responsibility of the unit owner. The fault might lie with a neighboring source if the damages came from beyond the owner’s house or if the water damage came from the condo above your unit.
It is hard to play the blame game without all the facts. It would undoubtedly help everyone to determine the cause of the condominium organization’s water leakage or damages first. Often, the source of water damage can not be found by simple observation. So, it can be difficult to discover where the problem originated without a particular level of proficiency. Therefore, if water damage occurs, it is a good idea to contact a plumbing expert to help establish the source of the leakage.
Communicate with the Condominium Organization
HOA communication management is essential when it pertains to water damage cases. Should a homeowner locate water damage that appears to be originating from beyond their own plumbing, they must notify the organization management as quickly as possible. The leak needs to be dealt with promptly to prevent more issues. Also, recognizing the Homeowners Association’s response will help the homeowner choose a strategy. Particular records allow the organization to only be accountable for water issues to an extent where they have ‘divided’ or defined particular circumstances that require a private solution. To further clarify, if the dripping water line only services your system, you may be required to attend to the fixing. In some organizations, the papers are not as detailed and only offer that the organization is responsible for any pipes contained inside the walls of the condo framework.
Nevertheless, if the water damage happens between 2 units, both homeowners must work together to address the problem. To mitigate any additional damage, and since mold can cause further damage quickly, everyone associated should face the problem head-on with haste. As a general disclaimer, you should contact your insurance company and an attorney for specifics regarding your situation. In many instances, each unit proprietor is accountable for damages within their unit from the drywall in. This suggests that, if the system experienced a plumbing issue and your unit was damaged as a result of the leak, you would be in charge of your unit’s interior damage. The very same requirement would be put on any others impacted. The association is typically responsible for repairing/replacing the drywall. As an individual unit owner, you are in charge of the paint and texture once the brand-new drywall is installed. Open communication during these events will undoubtedly prevent confusion and additional adverse effects on residential property.
File an Insurance Claim
After you have determined if the HOA is responsible for any damage, it is time to file an insurance claim. If the liable party is the condominium association, then the claim must be filed with the master building policy’s insurer or the master CA policy. Conversely, if the liable party is the condo unit owner, then the claim must be filed with the individual policy’s insurer. If no unique property and casualty insurance policy exists, the homeowner must bear the cost.
If the water damage happened in between two units, the insurer might decline the claim submitted. In this situation, both homeowners involved must handle the problem together. If either owner refuses to cooperate, the other may resort to a lawsuit.
Claiming insurance can be a long and dragged out procedure. To make sure things go as quickly and efficiently as possible, the HOA or house owner should prepare all essential information and documentation before filing the insurance claim.
So. Does HOA Cover Plumbing Damage?
At the end of the day, one of the most useful things that an HOA and homeowner can do to be proactive in preventing conflicts over water damage is to examine the governing agreement. The more specific and detailed this particular section is, the less likely there will be a concern. If the proprietors understand the duties, it will be less complicated for everyone in the future. It is also a good idea to review the insurance plan and urge residents to do the same.