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Alex Esquire
Alex Esquire, Attorney at Law
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 16396
Experience:  Experienced Licensed Attorney / Real Estate Law Mentor
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I have had a leak in the ceiling over my tub. I complained

Customer Question

I have had a leak in the ceiling over my tub for years. I complained to the condo assoc but they did nothing (claiming that it wasn't a leak but instead was "steam from my shower"). At one point the super came up and poked a hole in the ceiling with his finger--which the condo assoc refused to repair. Finally, exasperated with the state of disrepair of the ceiling, I took it upon myself to make my own repairs. I hired contractors who ended up having to entirely rip out the ceiling and walls, removing all the tile all the way down to the bricks and beams. In the process we discovered evidence of a long-term leak: one of the beams was damaged so severely that my contractor indicated the need for structural repairs. The presence of mold was also noted. I relayed this to the association and also to the resident in the unit above mine. The association's response was to send their own inspector who claimed that (1) there was no mold (even though he took NO samples), and (2) the association was NOT responsible for repairs to the beam--instead, "if the upstairs resident and myself want the beam repaired we will have to repair it ourselves" (?!?!?). Further, the association informed me that the upstairs resident would hire her own plumber to inspect her unit in terms of the leak. Now--my bathroom ceiling remained in an exposed state for almost three weeks. I texted the upstairs resident three times during this period in an attempt to get a confirmation regarding her success in hiring a plumber to address the leak situation. During this time period I received no response whatsoever. Yesterday, just as my contractors were arriving to install the tile, a flood of water came gushing out from the boards that the contractors had installed in the ceiling in preparation for their tile work. I proceeded to go upstairs with my contractor and knocked on the upstairs resident's door. I asked her if she had ever engaged a plumber; she said no, that "it had slipped her mind." I explained that I had water coming into my bathroom ceiling again. She said that she had just taken a shower, and said that we could come in and take a look. My contractor inspected the tub and said that it looked like the waste water pipe coming from her tub was faulty and had been leaking, and in fact may have been the original source of the initial leak. I advised the association of this, and stated that someone (either the resident or the association) needed to address this issue once and for all, before I finally closed up my ceiling. The association's response was that "plumbers have been called." Today some plumbers did come to my unit and performed work that they said was relevant to the leak. I asked them whether the part that was faulty was the domain of the upstairs resident or the association, and they replied that they could not say.
My question is: Who is at fault in this situation? There was a leak over my bathroom ceiling for a number of years that caused significant damage, damage that required me to totally repair and renovate my ceiling and walls, yet no one was motivated to make repairs until it was almost too late. The association was aware of this situation as far back as November 2014--yet neither they, nor the upstairs resident, took action--even when they so stated that they would do so.
I am now out a good deal of money for these repairs. I did receive some money from my homeowner's insurance, however it does not cover the total cost of the repairs.
Is there any way for me to recover the remaining cost from the association and/or the upstairs resident?
Many thanks!
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Alex Esquire replied 1 year ago.

Hello. My name is***** will be happy to answer your question.
I am sorry to hear about this unfortunate situation.

Generally, the most important task, is to establish who is responsible for maintaining the pipes that had caused the leak which caused all the damage.

The Condo Declaration should state as to whether the owners or the association is responsible for the piping which caused the leak and based on that determination, the claim can be presented to either upstairs owner or association for any damages, beyond what was covered by the insurance company.

A licensed contractor should be able to conduct such inspection and to issue a written opinion as to the cause of the leak and then a local real estate attorney should be able to review condo documents and determine as to which party is responsible for maintenance / repair of the leaking pipe(s).

You can find an experienced and skilled local Real Estate law attorney by using this established and reputable attorney information / referral websites:

www.lexmundi.com
www.martindale.com
www.lawyers.com
www.legalmatch.com
When, choosing a local attorney to represent you, it would be a good idea to choose someone who has a practice exclusively dedicated to real estate law, has at least 10 years of experience and handled similar matters and also regularly practices before the court located in the jurisdiction where your matter will be heard.
I wish you the best of luck!

Expert:  Alex Esquire replied 1 year ago.

Please let me know if you have any related follow up questions?
If not, please positively rate and accept my answer, so I can be compensated for my work.
Thank you.

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