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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 118635
Experience:  Licensed attorney practicing landlord-tenant, land use and other real estate law and litigation.
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I owned a basement unit apartment in Boston which currently

Customer Question

I owned a basement unit apartment in Boston which currently tenanted. One evening the boiler that supply hot water for 5 other apartments broke down and the water spilled to my unit. As a result my carpet and dry walls were damage. I have requested HOA to cover the damages through the master policy but was decline because of the master policy high deductible and therefore I went with my own insurance. My own insurance only cover a position of the repair which is up to the master policy deductible. I went back to the HOA to cover the remains balance for the repair and the HOA again did not want to make claim on the master insurance or even take out from the HOA reserved fund ( which I contribute monthly for maintenance). Can I take action?
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 11 months ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.

You can pursue the HOA, since it was their equipment that caused the damage and you could seek to sue them if they refuse to pay. Remember that money in the HOA funds comes from owners, so if you sue them for the damages, they can end up placing an assessment on all owners to cover the money they have to pay you so you could end up having to pay some of the money for your own claim. However, you do indeed have a right to sue them for damages to your unit that were caused by their faulty equipment and for which they are liable.

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Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Thanks for the info. Since it is their faulty equipment can I sue them that the damage should be cover by HOA and not my own insurance?
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 11 months ago.
Thank you for your reply.

You would sue them for what your insurance did not cover. If your insurance wants to recover what your insurance paid, they can sue the HOA separately if they choose to do so.
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I was forced to use my own insurance because the HOA did not want to claim it through the master policy. Can I withhold my monthly HOA fee until the full cost of the repair covered?
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 11 months ago.
Thank you for your reply.

Regardless of why you used your own insurance, whatever your insurance company paid is on the insurance company to decide to recover or not from the HOA. You can only pursue your own claims that were not paid by your insurer. You cannot withhold your HOA fee, as the MA courts dislike self help and it can lead to the HOA placing a lien on your unit. You have to take them to court for the money not covered by your insurer that should have been paid by the HOA.
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Thanks. Since the HOA is giving me a hard time on this, could I install a lock in my unit door which currently allow people access to the boiler room. This is for future reoccurrence that the other owners do not access my unit to the boiler room and mess with it, and the liability is on me?
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 11 months ago.
Thank you for your reply.

Unfortunately, that goes back to self help and again the MA courts do not allow self help. At this point, you would need to go to court against them I am afraid. As far as restricting access that is something you need to take up with the HOA board as they have to have access at least and they have to make the determination and you cannot just lock it without the board having access and without the board's approval.