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If a DC condo owner's insurance files a claim for the

If a DC condo owner's...
If a DC condo owner's insurance files a claim for the association insurance to cover every dollar after $5,000 worth of damage but the condo association's insurance deductible is set up for $10,000 deductible and its possible there's a DC code that says if the bylaws don't state who pays the deductible there's a cap of $5000.. how could that affect the condo association's insurance?
I have asked the association attorney to let us know if the bylaws set aside the DC code or not. If she says DC code applies unless we make an addition to the bylaws, then how might my association be affected?
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Answered in 1 hour by:
10/7/2017
Law Educator, Esq.
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 121,752
Experience: JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Thank you. I look forward to your answer.

Unfortunately, while it would be nice to have some code that would say that, there is no code placing a cap on the deductible for a condo association. I am afraid that the association would be liable for the amount of damage up to their deductible, it is the association's fault for having such a high deductible to try to save money, but this is the risk they take when someone files a claim, they would still be liable for paying the money up to the deductible and no law puts a cap on it.

They would have to pay the first $10,000 on any claim, regardless of the situation, since they chose the $10,000 deductible.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Why would the Association have to pay up to $10,000? I thought the point is the deductible is a deterrent that would preclude anyone tapping the insurance unless they have more than $10,000 damage. And the rule I read in DC Code says that if the bylaws don't say which entity is to pay the deductible then the owner's responsibility is capped at $5,000.

Thank you for your reply.

The Unit OWNER, in addition to their own insurance deductible, IS liable for the first $5000 of the association's deductible, but that was not what I thought you were asking. So the Association is liable for the $10,000 deductible, but if the claim is originated from a unit, that unit's owner has to pay $5000 of the deductible.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Okay. So if there was no cap, the owner would be responsible for the first $10,000 but if there's a cap and no bylaws that negate the DC cap then the Association is on the hook for the rest. Is that about right?

Thank you for your reply.

If there was no law, then the association would be liable for the deductible on their insurance and they would have to pursue the owner who is responsible for the damage (remember not all condo association damage is fault of a unit owner) to recover that deductible and could seek to recover up to the whole $10,000 from the owner if there were no cap in the code.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
If I told this owner that the rules said she's responsible and she made some remark about taking care of everything and I can't recall but I think she said submitting to her insurance on this situation but stated she already had talked to insurance and it was going to be expensive because she has to replace her entire floor plus drywall... am I personally at risk in any way? I have no idea what her costs are going to be when she spoke but it sounded like they could be more than $5000.

Thank you for your reply.

I do not get this, did your unit cause damage and you are dealing with some other owner's unit that was damaged? I mean, if your unit caused the damage, your insurance and you would be liable for the damages not covered by her insurer and up to $5000 of the association deductible.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
I'm the condo property manager that handles calls from owners and works for the condo association. I had someone call me about a leak that had occured earlier in the week. They had already called their insurance and the owner told me that the damage was significant to her floor and wall and that she'd be on the hook for a $5000 deductible and the association pays. I told her the association's deductible was $10,000 although there's DC code that talks about a $5000 cap which may be what her insurer is talking about. I read her the bylaw over the phone and the code and we said it was owner responsibility. So I'm wondering if I've done anything wrong by being helpful. I only sent her the association's Certificate of Insurance and the Bylaws and not the code. She's going to have to go through her insurance to get anything. Again... wondering if I've been TOO helpful.

Thank you for trying to make this a bit clearer, as you were confusing me presuming I knew your whole situation.

If the unit owner caused the leak and it was their fault and not from commonly owned property for which the Association is liable, then the Association is liable for the $10K deductible AND the unit owner who caused the damage would be liable for up to $5K of that deductible. However, many times if she had insurance they would end up covering the damage. Here is a link to the DC code, which you can copy and paste to your browser, do not click it: https://beta.code.dccouncil.us/dc/council/code/sections/42-1903.10.html

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Her leak was caused by a loose pipe attaching her toilet to the wall. Not common property. So if i understand, what you're saying is the association would be on the hook for $5,000 if that code applies. If the code doesn't apply then potentially the owner would be required to fulfill the deductible. At the time I spoke to her that's what I thought applied here and realized later I might have misunderstood it. So that's why I asked if I did anything wrong. Its not like she isn't going back to her insurance about it.

Thank you for your reply.

She is on the hook to the association for any damage caused to common property up to the $5K deductible and on the hook for damage to her property in full.

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Law Educator, Esq.
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 121,752
Experience: JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Property managers could use to have a lawyer by their sides. Thank you for being by mine today.

Thank you.

Most condo associations are supposed to have an attorney at least on retainer to handle thes issues, if they do not then sometimes they can end up in trouble.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
We do have an attorney. I've already asked the attorney to determine if our bylaws negate DC code or if we need to reconsider our current deductible. My point was managers would like to have one on site all the time. It would make these situatios less treacherous and a lot easier to manage

Thank you for your reply.

That is true.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Thank you again for taking time with me. It helps to keep a manager sane over the weekend.

You are welcome. Best wishes.

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