damage caused by water from unit above

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

damage caused by water from unit above

Water from the condo above caused water damage to the ceiling in my unit. I have sent a letter to the owner of the unit above requesting the amount the insurance adjuster said it would cost to fix the ceiling. Since then I have sold the unit. Can I file in small claims court requesting the money since I no longer own the unit? I owned the unit at the time of the damage. Can I file on behalf of the new owner?

Asked on April 27, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Oklahoma


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You don't file for the new owner--if the new owner suffers any losses or costs, he has to take action about them himself. What you can do is file a lawsuit for any costs or losses *you* incurred: e.g. if had to pay out-of-pocket (you can only sue for out-of-pocket amounts, not anything which had been paid by insurance) to repair, or if you did not repair but had to give the buyer some credit for the damage. If you can prove that the damage occured due to the fault of the upstairs owners and can prove the extent of your costs of losses, you can recover compensation in a lawsuit. The key is fault: the upstairs owner is only liable or financially resposible if he caused the damage in some way, such as turning on the bathtub then walking away and letting it overflow; flushing things he should not flush down the toilet, causing a back-up and flood; not fixing a known leak within a reasonable time, allowing water to build up and cause damage; etc. If he was not at fault--e.g. if there was a leak in a pipe without him causing it or failing to take reasonable action once he became aware of it--or if you cannot prove fault (the person suing has the "burden of proof" or obligation to prove fault) he is *not* liable. Liability in cases like this always depends on fault. 
Small claims court, as your own attorney ("pro se") is likely a very cost effective way to seek compensation.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption