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The owner of the condo above my unit has a hot water heater…

Customer Question
The owner of the condo...
The owner of the condo above my unit has a hot water heater leak, burst or something that caused water to flood the ceiling, which subsequently broke through causing the carprt to be saturated. Since my unit was vacant at the time, I have no idea how long the leak was apparent, although the owner above me stated it was no more than a few days.
Apparently his insurance will not cover the damage to my unit, since it was not 'negligence'. My problem is though that I don't want to file a claim with my insurance for all of the obvious reasons.
The neighbor is not being receptive to taking care of the problem the right way and has just resolved to telling me to file a claim!
How should this be handled?
Submitted: 6 years ago.Category: Landlord-Tenant
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Answered in 5 minutes by:
3/1/2012
Lawyer: insearchoftheanswer, Lawyer replied 6 years ago
insearchoftheanswer
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 56,737
Experience: Lawyer; developer/owner of RE developments.
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Good evening. With condos, it is either the above owner's responsibility or the association's responsibility....depending upon whether the water heater is deemed common area or belonging to the owner of the above unit. The one thing you know is that this is not your responsibility. So, what you should do is to file a claim naming them both. The court can then allocate responsibility. The other thing the filing of your suit does is bring the insurance companies for each the association and the owner into it. That is good, because the owner and/or association want coverage if they are held liable. And, the insurance companies are then under pressure, because the state insurance code provides that if they fail to reasonably settle, they are liable for not only the actual damages, but also 3 times that as punitive damages. So, once you file suit, you will be amazed at how their tones change.

 

 

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Customer reply replied 6 years ago

Are you suggesting that I file a claim in court, or with my insurance company?

Lawyer: insearchoftheanswer, Lawyer replied 6 years ago
File a suit in court naming both the owner and the association. Not with your insurance company.
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Customer reply replied 6 years ago
Well, this is a rental unit, with a new tenant 'moving in' tomorrow! Also, I live in CA and the condo is in AZ. Seems that filing in court would make the whole situation move extremely slow. Thoughts?
Lawyer: insearchoftheanswer, Lawyer replied 6 years ago

You can still repair your unit and move in a new tenant. It doesn't change the fact that you suffered the damages and that the cause was either the responsibility of the owner or the association. Do the foregoing, and still file the suit.

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Customer reply replied 6 years ago
So your recommendation is that I repair the condo out of pocket and then file the suit? Do I need to personally by in AZ to file in court?
Lawyer: insearchoftheanswer, Lawyer replied 6 years ago
Yes...I would do that; and, yes, you must file in AZ...you can have an attorney file the suit...which is likely as far as you will need to go in your suit, but if it does get to a hearing, you will need to go personally.
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Customer reply replied 6 years ago
What probability would you assign to me winning a case like that? And, I assume there should be additional $ potentially awarded for any legal fees, my time, lost rent, etc?
Lawyer: insearchoftheanswer, Lawyer replied 6 years ago
I don't know which will be held liable, but you should win this case because you were in no way at fault. And, yes, you can ask for lost rent time and legal fees, but not lost time. The lost rent will be a slam dunk; the legal fees will be up to the judge.
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insearchoftheanswer
insearchoftheanswer, Lawyer
Category: Landlord-Tenant
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Experience: Lawyer; developer/owner of RE developments.

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