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I have not had electrical power at my property for 2 weeks. The HOA has admitted
responsibility for the faulty power cable and it’s replacement cost. They are
taking a very long time to commit to executing the required remediation work. In
the process I have incurred additional expenses. Am I entitled to make a claim
against the HOA or is the HOA obligated to cover some or all of the expenses I
have incurred – e.g. cost of emergency electrician to diagnose fault, spoiled
food/damage to domestic appliances, additional transport expenses e.g. rental car
car stuck in garage due to no power, temporary accommodation, compensation for
time off of work, general punitive damages.
Asked on February 21, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Texas
SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney
Answered 3 years ago | Contributor
If they are at fault, they are liable for the reasonably foreseeable costs arising out of their fault--i.e. out of their failure to keep the power flowing. That would be spoiled food; appliance damage if due to the power outage; costs to bring in an electrician.
But they are not liable for costs which are not reasonably foreseeable outcomes, like renting a car due to yours being trapped in a garage, UNLESS it is a communal/community garage and they have provided no alternate way to retrieve the vehicle (then they are liable for not providing some alternate way in/out)--if it is your own garage, normally you would have some way to access in the event of a power failure (I know my garage has such an emergency access/egress for vehicles) and if you failed to provide for such, that is not their responsibility.
Also, there is NEVER compensation for your own time or for punative damages in cases like this: that is simply not something the law provides recourse for. (Your own time is your own time: you are resonsible for finding a way to get to work/get work done; and punitive damages are only available when there is a deliberate or at least reckelss effort to hurt you, not mere negligence about providing utilities.)
As to temporary accommodations: only if your unit/home was simply uninhabitable (e.g. temperature 50 degees or less). If it was merely suboptimal or unpleasant to stay there, you would still typcially be expected to stay; only a lack of habitability would justify accommodations costs.
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