Who should fixa balcony leak – theHOA or the condo owner?

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Who should fixa balcony leak – theHOA or the condo owner?

I have a 2nd floor condo with balcony and there’s heavy rain this spring. About 1 month agoI received a letter from the HOA stating the water damage for the downstairs unit should be my responsibility to fix. I checked my balcony and there are small cement cracks underneaththe balcony bar and along the seam at the bottom. The CC&R states that owner should maintain the interior of exclusive used common area. I think that the cement crack underneath the bar (it’s close to the edge of the balcony) should fixed by HOA rather than me, since it’s not on the interior of the balcony therefore beyond the normal maintenace for owners. Meanwhile,  the HOA should inspect all buildings routinely. If they did their job then they should have been made aware of the problem and sent notice to me to fix it if it’s indeed my responsibility. In the meantime, I think the water proof layer inside the balcony has problem, otherwiseit shouldn’t have damaged the upstairs so badly because of the small crack at the seam.

Asked on April 7, 2011 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

There's no way for someone to answer this in the abstract, since it depends on two things:

1) The specific language of the  agreement(s) controlling responsibility for repairs; and 

2) The factual situation--i.e. exactly where the leak is, what a reasonable person might conclude about it's location vis-a-vis the "interior" of an exclusively used common area, etc.

It seems like there is, from what you write, at least room for disagreement. For an evaluation of the merits of your case, you'd have to bring photos of the area and damage, the agreement, etc. to an attorney who can review them for you. Of course, depending on the cost of the repair, vs. the cost of the lawyer, it may make more sense to simply pay--but that's an economic, not legal, decision.


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