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Water leak/Pipe broke from my unit above

Discussion in 'Homeowners, Fire, Casualty' started by Mr.Frustrated, Jun 5, 2018.

  1. Mr.Frustrated

    Mr.Frustrated Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Hello,


    Water started coming out of the electrical socket in my kitchen and molds are forming in my cabinets due to water leak on the unit above mine. I reported this to my HOA and they asked me to call a plumber to confirm (3 months ago). I called my insurance and they inspected my place and they denied my claim. According to them, since the damage occurred before and its not within my property, they cannot cover it. I have been informed by my insurance that since that damage was pretty bad, the kitchen would need to be stripped out which would cost a fortune. I brought this up to the management and they said that they do not get involved with other unit’s issue. I truly feel that the leak is compromising the integrity and structure not just my place but the entire building. The leak is going all the way to the garage as well. How should I proceed or who should I go after? I asked the HOA management if they can initiate the conversation or process to the owner above me but they said that its not their responsibility. My insurance said that need to basically change the pipe and strip my wall as well. Who should it fall under? Who’s going to pay for my kitchen? How should I handle this?
     
  2. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    The owner above you, or their insurance, is responsible.
    You might start by simply knocking on the door and asking about the situation and see if they will offer you insurance information.
    I'd the owner/occupant is uncooperative then hire an attorney. If your situation is one in which it is obvious the other owneown insurance will be responsible I doubt you will have much trouble finding an attorney willing to help you out.
     
  3. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    First of all, I assume you live in a condo or a townhome, and the distinction matters greatly.

    Second, no insurance company is responsible for what happened. Even if some other unit owner is legally liable to you, that doesn't mean the other owner's insurance has any obligation to you. Homeowner's/condo owner's insurance provides indemnification in the event the insured is determined to be legally liable. Hence, if the other unit owner is legally liable, the other owner's insurer only owes the owner a duty of indemnification.

    Third, since we obviously have no way of knowing how this happened, we have no way of determining who, if anyone, is legally liable.

    You mentioned that this problem first arose three months ago, but you didn't describe any remedial measures you have taken other than calling a plumber to confirm something. I certainly hope that you have taken remedial measures. If you have not, then any damage resulting from a delay on your part may be solely on you.

    The first thing you need to do is have a plumber come out and fix the leaking and give you an opinion about the cause of all this. Then you need to contact an attorney.
     
  4. Mr.Frustrated

    Mr.Frustrated Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Hello, Thank you for your response. I live in an own to won place.

    Doesn’t HOA management have responsibility as well to keep the integrity and structure of the building?

    Yes, I did mentioned that the problem arose around three months ago. I did hired a plumber to come in and right when he went inside my place and saw that water is coming out, he said that he couldn’t do anything since it is between the walls. He looked around and went on the unit above mine. When he went at the back of my place, he saw this crack with moss forming and he said that the water is coming from upstairs because it’s on the side and a little bit above my window. I have an email communication stating that and I reached out to my HOA management right away to let them know but I did not get any answer until yesterday.

    Just an update, the HOA management said that they spoke to the unit above mine and said that they do not have a leak issue without even sending a plumber. HOA will send a plumber tomorrow to check my unit to determine where exactly the water is coming.

    Since I am totally new to this and broke, how does hiring an attorney work? Can I do public attorney?
     
  5. Mr.Frustrated

    Mr.Frustrated Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Yes, I was thinking that it should be them who should be responsible since the first plumber said that the leak was coming from the unit above mine. I responded to an email thread below yours and providing more information. What if the HOA’s plumber says otherwise? What approach should I take? Should I hire another plumber?
     
  6. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Maybe, but usually NOT.

    As suggested by @zddoodah above, you need to have a plumber (maybe other contractors) evaluate and repair the problem.

    The evaluations you receive should be in writing offering an explanation for the problem(s), as well as a comprehensive solution, including costs.

    Even if the plumber and other contractors allege the issue was caused by the owner of Unit 1234, and the HOA is also to blame, that alone won't require anyone to cough up a penny.

    You should speak with an attorney about what your legal remedies are, and how you go about obtaining those remedies.

    A court battle can often take months, sometimes years, which means you might have to shell out the money to repair the damage tomorrow and you might never recover a dime.

    Currently you only have suspicions about what caused the problem, and an idea of how you could get reimbursed.

    Many things can occur along your path to reimbursement, many things that won't get you paid.

    People don't have to cough up $25,000 even when a judge says they must.

    A person could die, acquire a deadly illness, end up in prison, or even file bankruptcy.

    Get a written report(s), and see an attorney to determine what options are available to you.

    This will NOT be a DIY project.
     
  7. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    You can meet with MOST attorneys for free during the initial consultation.

    This is where you can meet with two or three attorneys for free, and learn what a lawsuit requires of you.

    No, there is no publicly funded attorney for any private civil matter.
     
  8. Mr.Frustrated

    Mr.Frustrated Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thank you. I've been looking around and since I am new to this, what should I expect? Like, what is the normal charge rate for these lawyers? Are there any fees on top of hourly? Also, if in case I have to take this to court and if I win, do I still need to pay them or is it the other party?
     
  9. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    If you hired a lawyer to do this in my part of the USA, it would cost you about $15,000 to $20,000 up front.

    No one near me would accept such a case on contingency.

    Your results and answers will vary, so my information is simply anecdotal and worthless to you.

    All of those quetions and more, you should ask of any lawyer when you meet.

    If you decide to hire a lawyer, ask for a retainer.

    The retainer is the contract between you and the lawyer.

    It should explain everything and more that you're curious about.

    Take it home, read it before you sign it, and pay the lawyer any money.

    Ig you don't understand a sentence, notate it, and ask about it when you return to sign.

    If you dislike the retainer, don't sign, simply say no thanks.

    Bottom line, and I can't say it any clearer, you're not likely to see a dollar for years, presuming you prevail in a lawsuit.

    In the meantime, you need to know just what is damaged, and what it will cost to repair it.

    You might find it more financially sound to sell the home and find another home.

    If your insurance isn't going to reimburse you, don't expect another person's insurance company to do so, either.

    Insurance companies have different slogans and logos, but their thought patterns tend to be the same, they don't just dole out cash because an insured asks for cash.
     
  10. Mr.Frustrated

    Mr.Frustrated Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thank you for the info. This is just very upsetting especially that I just purchased/moved in on last week of February 2018
     
  11. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    Huh?

    I don't know. Depends on the governing documents.

    I don't know what you mean by "do a public attorney." I suggest googling "[name of your city] attorneys" (and maybe include the word "condo" or "condominium" in your search query. Or try the "find a lawyer" link at the bottom of every page at this site. Make a call and say that you are seeking a consultation.
     

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