If repair work is delayed, is a condo owner entitled to reimbursement of the months mortgage, and possibly association fees, due to lack of use of the property?

Condo owner needed to be moved out of unit by the property management company to perform plumbing repairs that were related to the multi unit buildings drain line that was located beneath the concrete floor of condo owners unit. Repairs were needed due to building operations and were not directly related to the unit. Work was stated to be approximately 5 days but ended up being 34 days. The condo owner was put in a nearby hotel at the condo association’s expense.

Asked on March 9, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

The association paid for the condo owner to stay at a hotel, so they paid for his or her "rent" for the money. IF the mortgage and association fees were significantly larger than the cost of the hotel for that period of time, the owner could potentially sue for and recover the difference--i.e. the amount by which the sum of the mortgage and fees for that period exceeded the hotel bill--since in that case, the "compensation" to the owner was significantly less than the loss/costs they faced. But if the hotel cost as much or more than the mortgage and association fees, there'd be no recovery: the association already essentially footed the bill for a place to live for the month for the owner. And, of course, if the mortgage and association fees are larger than the hotel bill, but not that much larger, there's no practical point in suing--it would not be worth the cost or effort.
Look at it this way: say the mortgage is $1,500 per month, and the fees $300 month; the owner pays $1,800/month for place to live. Say that the hotel bill was $50/day for 34 days--the owner had a place to live for the month, and the association paid $1,700 for it. To the degree the owner was harmed (other than by inconvenience; and there is no compensation for inconvenience), it's that he paid $1,800 for something worth $1,700 that month; he could therefore only look to sue for the $100 difference, in this example.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

The association paid for the condo owner to stay at a hotel, so they paid for his or her "rent" for the money. IF the mortgage and association fees were significantly larger than the cost of the hotel for that period of time, the owner could potentially sue for and recover the difference--i.e. the amount by which the sum of the mortgage and fees for that period exceeded the hotel bill--since in that case, the "compensation" to the owner was significantly less than the loss/costs they faced. But if the hotel cost as much or more than the mortgage and association fees, there'd be no recovery: the association already essentially footed the bill for a place to live for the month for the owner. And, of course, if the mortgage and association fees are larger than the hotel bill, but not that much larger, there's no practical point in suing--it would not be worth the cost or effort.
Look at it this way: say the mortgage is $1,500 per month, and the fees $300 month; the owner pays $1,800/month for place to live. Say that the hotel bill was $50/day for 34 days--the owner had a place to live for the month, and the association paid $1,700 for it. To the degree the owner was harmed (other than by inconvenience; and there is no compensation for inconvenience), it's that he paid $1,800 for something worth $1,700 that month; he could therefore only look to sue for the $100 difference, in this example.


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