Is a condoowner responsible for repairing interior damage caused by the condo associations failure to maintain the exterior?

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Is a condoowner responsible for repairing interior damage caused by the condo associations failure to maintain the exterior?

My husband and I purchased a condo in NJ in 2007. From about a month in, there was a rain storm that brought about leaking from the roof, through the attic space, down through our bedroom ceiling. The condos are attached and have slate roofing and, my guess is, that there is no routine preventative maintenance done. So, I contacted the management company (contracted obo the condo association) and was told that damage to the inside of the property is our responsibility. Now, we live out of state and have a tenant who recently experienced the same issue. Can we sue the management company of our condo association for negligence in maintaining the exterior of the building?

 

Asked on October 10, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Maryland

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If someone else's negligent act or omission (e.g. a failure or lack of maintenance) causes damage to your property, then you can sue them to recover for your costs and losses. Whether or not repairing the interior is your responsibility, if the condo association was negligent in providing maintenance to areas under its control or responsibilities--i.e it failed to do or fix things it had an obligation to do or fix--and that negligence damaged the interior of your unit, you could sue them for the loss (and/or submit a claim to their insurer). It's like with a car accident--say your car is properly parked and someone carelessly drives into it. Even though normally, the the maintence of a car is the owner's responsibility, if the car is damaged by another's negligence, the owner can sue to recover...same idea here. It would be worthwhile for you to speak with an attorney who can evaluate the specifics of this situation and tell you the strength of your case and what it might be worth.


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