Is My HOA Responsible For Water Damage and Mold?
Determining who’s responsible for water damage and mold can often bring uncertainty. It can be common in areas with heavy rainfall during summer, making the issue difficult to deal with.
Water damage and mold are tricky issues and should be addressed immediately. Whether the owner or HOA is responsible for these damages depends on various factors, such as the condo insurance coverage offered by your HOA.
This guide covers the different scenarios when your HOA covers water damage and mold so that you can receive proper financial compensation.
When Is My HOA Responsible for Covering Water Damage?
Figuring out who is responsible for covering water damage can become quite complex.
Typically, your HOA is responsible when the damage comes from a common area, and homeowners hold responsibility within their homes.
1. Check the Governing Documents
The easiest way to determine if your HOA is responsible for water damage is to look within your governing documents. Your association’s governing documents will provide details on who bears responsibility. It should provide comprehensive information so you can receive a definitive answer on who’s responsible.
In most cases, the governing documents will state that exterior damage falls under the shoulders of the HOA, while interior damage goes to the homeowner.
For example, it’s the homeowners association’s responsibility to ensure that the common areas are maintained. A lack of maintenance that leads to water damage or failure to fix plumbing issues means that the HOA has been negligent. As a result, they’re liable for the damages and repairs.
2. Identify the Cause of the Damage
Once you define the boundaries stated in the documents, you must find out who was at fault. You’ll need to identify how and where the water damage occurred.
Your neighbor would bear responsibility if the leak originated from your neighbor’s unit from shared condominium walls. However, if the cause came from an overflowing toilet inside your unit, you would be responsible for the damages.
Sometimes tracing the source of the water damage requires help from a professional plumbing company. They should be able to identify where the water came from and tell you who is at fault.
3. Report the Damage
Water damage can quickly worsen; therefore, it’s crucial to immediately report the problem to your homeowner’s association. It’ll allow the HOA to respond and help you understand which course of action to take. Also, reporting the damages lets you resolve it quickly to prevent further leakage and more damage caused.
If water damage occurs in two condo units, both property owners must communicate to resolve the issue. All parties must have an open dialogue to help prevent more costly repairs.
4. File a Claim
After determining who is liable for the damages, you can file an insurance claim. If it’s another homeowner liable, you must file the claim with the insurer of their policy. However, the claim should be filed with the master HOA policy if it’s the HOA.
The liable party must pay for those out-of-pocket costs if the at-fault party has an insurance policy that doesn’t cover water or mold damages. Most homeowners insurance policies typically cover burst pipes, accidental leaks, roof leaks, water damage after a fire, and storms.
When the incident involves a neighbor, then there is a possibility that your insurance claim can be rejected. Both parties must agree; otherwise, legal action will ensue if either party refuses to cooperate.
Filing insurance claims for water and mold damage is a long and arduous process that requires meticulous documentation and a complete understanding of the policy.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the most commonly asked questions when deciding who’s at fault for damages.
Is the condo association responsible for plumbing?
The party responsible depends on the location of the pipes. The condo association is responsible if the pipes are in a common area, such as the main pipe or outside the unit. However, if the pipes are inside your unit, like a leaky faucet, it’s the property owner or tenant’s responsibility to fix it. Furthermore, any plumbing issues that go through your wall from a nearby wall could also be your responsibility.
When reviewing the governing documents, check for common and limited elements. Common elements are areas of the building used by everyone, such as the front lawn, main lines, and the sump. Limited common elements are areas that are your responsibility, such as the shutters on your door or your AC unit.
The good news is that plumbing is unlikely to be listed in the limited common elements section.
Is the condo association responsible for drywall?
In most condos, the common elements listed in the governing documents include the drywall contained in each unit. The condo association is responsible for the drywall, while the unit owner is responsible for covering the drywall or the finished interior surface.
Therefore, the condo association must replace the drywall if the unit’s ceiling or wall experiences mold or water damage. The unit owner must replace or repaint the wallpaper.
If you’ve suffered water damage to your unit due to the condo association’s failure to maintain comment elements like water pipes, roofing, the building walls, or weatherproofing the exterior, you may be able to get the association to reimburse the damages.
Need Help? Contact All Dry USA Today
Water and mold damage is a serious issue that can grow into an uncontrollable disaster. It’s best to address the issue early so that you can mitigate expensive repairs.
The best solution is first to remedy the water and mold issue, then figure out who’s responsible. Even just several inches of water can disastrously affect your property and health. Dangerous chemicals and toxins can lead to respiratory infections and severe allergies. Mold causes many health effects and appears around leaks, pipes, drywall, and many other areas of the hold.
Contact All Dry USA for water damage restoration and repair services. With our cutting-edge technology and highly-skilled team of restoration specialists, we’ll help you remove water quickly and efficiently.