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LawTalk
LawTalk, Attorney
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 35406
Experience:  I have 30 years legal experience. Additionally, in CA I held a Real Estate Broker's license.
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I had a fire suppression pipe burst in condominium I was living

Customer Question

I had a fire suppression pipe burst in condominium I was living in. I had been renting. Had to move and told 9 months or before can move back. stayed at hotel 4 months. Can I sue condo association for my expenses. I did not have rental insurance at the time.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  LawTalk replied 1 year ago.
Good afternoon,
I'm Doug, and I'm very sorry to hear of your situation. My goal is to provide you with excellent service today. In order to give you a clear and concise answer, I will need some additional information about the circumstances, please.
1. Did the association or did your landlord do anything to make the pipe burst?
Doug
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
It was the association responsible. Their pipe. Winter weather.
Expert:  LawTalk replied 1 year ago.
Good afternoon,
You said that the pipe burst inside your condo. How did winter weather cause that to happen? I presume that your unit was heated?
Again, are you aware of anything that the landlord or the association did to make the pipe burst?
Doug
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Doug,a major pipe burst in the attick and about 30 condominiums were flooded including the one I was renting. Told to evacuate immediately. Did. Then move all things out. Did. Not landlord fault. Condominiums association.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I presume weather effected the pipes but I don't know. Pipes in winter
Expert:  LawTalk replied 1 year ago.
Hi,
Thanks for explaining all of that. Now I understand the situation. I do empathize with your situation.
The problem you face is the while the Association certainly has the obligation of maintenance and repair of water pipes---and in this situation fire suppression pipes----in the association, they do not have blanket liability on the event of an act of God---which would be the bursting of a pipe due to weather conditions.
In order to hold the association liable for your losses you would have to show negligence on their part in the occurrence of the incident. If indeed it was just winter weather which contributed to the bursting of the pipe then the association would not be liable for the damages. Likewise, even though the unit belonged to your landlord, presuming the landlord did nothing negligently to cause the pipe to burst, the landlord would not be liable either.
In instances like this, the court considers the incident to be an Act of God and not the specific fault of any particular person or entity. The only way to protect yourself from losses occasioned by Acts of God are to have insurance to provide the coverage that you want. In this case, you would have needed renters insurance---and even renters insurance would not have paid for you to stay in a hotel for months.
Because of the damage to the condo, you had the right to terminate your lease with your landlord and find a new place to live.
I understand that you may be disappointed by the Answer you received, as it was not particularly favorable to your situation. Had I been able to provide an Answer which might have given you a successful legal outcome, it would have been my pleasure to do so.
If you have additional questions, you may of course reply back to me and I will be happy to continue to assist you further until your questions have been answered to your satisfaction.
Kindly take a moment to rate my service to you based on the understanding of the law I provided. Please understand that I have no control over the how the law impacts your particular situation.
Thank you,
Doug
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
There is a lawsuit against the condo association that I know for sure but don't know the details. I guess I will look into it.
Expert:  LawTalk replied 1 year ago.
Good evening,
If there is an active lawsuit, then it would be because someone believes that they can show active negligence on the part of the association for the bursting pipe. This would be the case if the association did something to cause the pipe to burst, or is they negligently failed to properly insulate the portion of the building where the pipe was located.
Again though, to get to that point, someone would also have to prove what caused the burst. If it was freezing temperatures, that would be one thing, but if it was a defective pipe weld or other similar problem, while the association could be sued, they would not lose the case.
So yes, of course, if you are aware of an active lawsuit ongoing, you should look into it.
You may reply back to me using the Reply link and I will be happy to continue to assist you until I am able to address your concerns, to your satisfaction.
Kindly, remember to rate my service to you. That is how I am credited for assisting you.
I wish you and yours the best in 2015,
Doug

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