Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Home and Garden

Community Living: Is condo responsible for damaged windshield?

Q: My car's windshield was cracked after being hit by a bolt while parked in the condominium's parking lot. The bolt appears to be the same as those used on the roof. We have asked for reimbursement for the damage. The president said that the negligence has to be proved for the condominium in order for them to be liable. Am I entitled to reimbursement and how do I go about getting it?

A: The condominium is rarely responsible for loss of personal property. You need to have insurance coverage for such loss. Report this loss to your insurance agent as a claim. To recover this loss from the condominium, you would need to prove that the damage was directly and deliberately inflicted by someone involved with the board, an employee or management. Just because the object was similar to ones used by the association, should not be evidence of neglect. The president was correct in that the condominium has no responsibility in this matter. If you find that a kid was responsible such as throwing the bolt and causing the damage, you may have a case to sue the kid and maybe his family. There is a slim chance of recovery and you will need to file a lawsuit. No, the repairs are more than likely your responsibility.

AC drain and rain leaks: Who pays?

Q: Our condominium has had two water leakage problems. The first is the drain from the air conditioner, and the second is from blowing rain that penetrates the walls. As to the drain from the air conditioning, it is a constant problem. The board has confirmed that the AC drain is the owners' responsibility as listed in our documents. However, the leak from the water that penetrates walls has resulted in the board paying for the water removal and repairs to the drywalls. This has resulted in several thousands of dollars being used from our reserves to clean up and fix the penetration problems. Why is the expense of the water removal part of the condominium expense when the AC drain is not a common expense?

A: As to AC drains, in Florida they seem to be blocked by some types of fungus or mildew and need regular cleanout. I would suggest that all AC drains be checked every six months. In the past, strong chemicals were used but the side effect was that they caused damage corrosion to the AC system. It is best to flush with high pressure water or blow with a high pressure air compressor to keep it unclogged. As you said it is a document requirement that the members are responsible for the AC drain. As to why the board chose to pay for water extraction is something that you will need to ask the board. Maybe they felt that if the board would pay for the cleanup action it would save on legal costs if an owner sued. You are correct in that each owner would be responsible for the repairs to his personal property. Thus the water removal should have been owners' expense. Maybe your documents have other obligations to water penetration and the board accepted that duty. Maybe your board felt that neglect on their part created the leak and wanted to cut the loss.

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