Who is responsible for the cost of a water leak repair in a condo?

I have tenants living in my condominium unit. There has been an on and off leak to the unit under mine for several months. I have had several plumbers look into it and have changed the shower and faucet fixtures in the bathroom. The leak has been persistent after all this so I recommended to the unit owner below to contact another plumber. Also we (myself and the unit owner below) both have tried contacting the condominium association personnel several times to take a look as well because at this point we believed that the leak was stemming from the water pipes behind the walls. Anyway, the condo association folks finally came to look at the situation and declared it an “emergency” and went ahead and called another plumber who cut out the drywall and found out that the shower diverter pipe was the reason behind the mysterious leak. So at this point the plumber repaired the piping and they also called in a contractor to fix the drywall damage to the unit below. After a 3 month period they sent me a bill close to $4,000 for the repairs. Am I legally obligated to pay this bill?

Asked on October 12, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Virginia

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The first thing that you need to read is the "covenants, conditions & restrictions" recorded on your condominium as well as any rules concerning the association's obligations to maintain and repair common area matters. You need to ascertain whether or not the association is responsible for paying for the pipe's repairs as a common area maintenance that it is obligated to take care of.

The best thing for you to do is ask for the factual and legal basis for the bill (from the plumber from) to the association for work that you did not authorize on your home and which you did not seem to sign a written contract with the plumber for.

Sentiment is that if you did not sign any contract for the plumber's work on your property but the association did, then the association where your complex is should pay the $4,000 or so bill for repairs, not you.

Good luck.


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