Los Angeles County. I bought a condo 2 years ago. The use of the shower by the last owner leaked to the neighbors down stairs, who've lived there now for 6 years so they have damage that ensued prior to my purchase. I haven't used the shower but I have taken initiative to identify the exact problem. I offered a compromise in that we could divide the time we've lived here to alot a percentage for me to pay, but they feel I'm responsible for everything since I am the current owner. I don't feel I'm responsible for something I didn't cause and the owner before me ignored them. Can you tell me where I can find applicable laws for this?
State/Country relating to question: California
The HOA doesn't have specific rules for this. I've contacted my insurance which said that the coverage only applied to damage done to my unit.
Hello and thank you for allowing me the opportunity to assist you.You're not going to find written statutes that deal with these kinds of issues. The applicable law is common law negligence. If you were to ignore your neighbor's request that you pay for all of the damage, then they'd need to sue you for negligence in order to force you to pay. In order for them to win a lawsuit for negligence, they'd need to prove (1) that you owed them a duty, (2) that you breached the duty, (3) that they suffered an injury, and (4) that your breach was the direct and proximate cause of their injury. If they can't prove each element, then they can't win the lawsuit.As the owner of a condo, you clearly owe your neighbors a duty not to allow your leaky shower to ruin their condo. However, it is just as clear that you owed them no such duty prior to you owning your condo. If you owed them no such duty prior to you owning your condo, then your neighbors cannot win a lawsuit for any damages that occurred prior to you owning your condo ... i.e., there was no duty prior to you owning your condo, and thus, no breach of a duty, and although there was an injury, the injury was not the direct and proximate result of your breach since you didn't breach.The botXXXXX XXXXXne is that your neighbors will have to go after the prior owner for any damage that was caused during the time before you owned your condo.Does that answer your question? Let me know if you need clarification, and please remember to rate me positively so that I receive credit for my efforts.Thank you and good luck!
Excellent service. Just one more question... Is there a statute on how long they have to go after the last owner?
Hi again.Yes, the statute of limitations for damage to property is 3 years:California Code of Civil Procedure Section 338. Within three years:(b) An action for trespass upon or injury to Real Property.
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