Water leaks are one of the most common causes of disputes between condominium owners. Water can travel between condominium units and cause significant damage to multiple units and association common areas in a short period of time. While common sense may dictate that the owner of the unit the leak originated from is responsible to pay for any resulting water damage, the condominium governing documents and applicable laws often provide otherwise.
Many factors are involved in determining who is liable for water leaks, including the cause of the damage, the association’s declaration and bylaws, and the insurance carried by the association and unit owners.
Generally, a unit owner is not responsible for damage to a neighboring unit unless the owner failed to take reasonable care in maintaining their unit or acted negligently or intentionally. For example, a unit owner would be liable for damage caused by his failure to fix a slow leaking pipe, but would not be responsible for damage caused by major storm that results in a leak from the unit. The condo association declaration, however, can expand a unit owner’s liability and could require that unit owners obtain insurance for damage to another unit caused by the unit owner’s negligence, or regardless of any negligence.
Due to the fact that all association declarations are different and that the situations in which water damage to a unit arise are different, a condominium association or unit owner should contact legal counsel in addition to their insurance carrier to determine how to handle each situation.
If you have any questions regarding your condominium association governing documents or a water leak in your condominium , please contact:
firstname.lastname@example.org or 312-368-0100.