Sunday, May 20, 2018
Home and Garden

Community Living: Without insurance, condo association should pay for flood damage

Without insurance, condo owners pay

Q: I had a flood from the unit above me and I suffered a total loss of my ceiling. The condominium had a vote to opt out of insurance coverage for drywall for storm or condominium piping breakage or flooding. Is there a law that allows such a vote? Even though the board conducted this vote, I do not believe that the members clearly understood the responsibility of such an event where there is a flood and damage. Our buildings are three stories high and one-third will not experience this damage. The board reported that this would reduce our insurance $200,000 plus. Was this a wise decision? What can I do to recover my loss and how we can change the members vote to provide insurance coverage for this area.

A: I publish this question to point out imprudent decisions that people will make to try to save money. The members voted not to have insurance coverage; however the condominium is still responsible for drywall repairs. Now the members must pay from the general funds. What I mean by this is that the failure to have insurance coverage does not eliminate the condominium's responsibility to repair damaged drywall. The cost must be paid by the condominium funds. Just because a unit is on the top floor, does not mean that they will never have a flood and damage to their drywalls. My guess is that an owner cannot insure for the loss of drywall without paying a much higher premium. If the condominium does not pay for the drywall I suggest that you engage an attorney to sue the condominium board. I would also suggest that the board discuss the matter with their insurance agent and their attorney. I further suggest that the matter be discussed at the next annual meeting as well as at board meetings.

Talk to lawyers about rent issue

Q: I rented a condominium unit a year ago. I have paid my rent on time each month. Last month I was notified that the owner is delinquent in his condominium fees. I received a letter from an attorney for the condominium that said that future rents must be paid to the condominium. I called the owner and he said the condominium is just using the letter as a scare tactic. It is clear that I am stuck in the middle of a legal mess. Can you please provide any insight regarding my rights?

A: The statutes were recently changed and the association is allowed to collect rents for delinquent units. There are certain steps the condominium must take and it appears that they have the guidance of their attorney. I would notify the association's attorney of your conversation with the owner and ask if the owner's attorney has filed a counter claim. Tell him/her of your concerns. Can you put your rent in a trust account rather than pay the condominium? I would also send a certified letter to the owner and explain that without guidance from his attorney, you are going to place the rent with the association's attorney. Also, in your letter request proof that he has paid the association in full.