Re: Financial reponsiblity for water leaks
From: John Carver (jcarverislandnet.com)
Date: Sat, 25 Jan 2014 12:25:00 -0800 (PST)
I so often hear about insurance companies that don't pay claims on what would appear to be straightforward. Ann, I have the feeling your case could have been pursued differently, and the insurer probably should have advised.

Point 1: It goes beyond the bylaws. Condominium ownership will be governed by some state legislation where you live. It differs from place to place. Where I live it's the BC Strata Property Act. (strata property = condominium)

2: There are two parts to home owners' insurance, comprehensive/specified perils and liability. The first pays for damage to your own home from accident, fire, etc.; liability covers damage to other persons or property caused by you or your property.

So while you can't make a claim for damage to common property, which is the responsibility of community as you say, you can likely make a liability claim if the community bills you for damages. That said, the insurer may still make it difficult, for instance requiring a prior assessment of damages, competing quotes for repairs, all invoices. In some cases insurers don't pay until there's a law suit.

Here in BC, in cases similar to yours, the courts have ruled that the homeowner is responsible for damage to common property resulting from events in the owner's home, regardless of whether it was a fault of the owner, or even without the owner's knowledge of the occurrence.

John Carver
Pacific Gardens Cohousing
Nanaimo, BC
http://pacificgardens.ca/

On 25/01/2014 8:42 AM, Ann Zabaldo wrote:
Hi David and all --

Boy -- this is one of those not easy things.  Mostly it depends on what your 
by-laws say.

I had a leak under my kitchen sink.  Some days later we found out that water 
leaked down to the CH DR ceiling that is underneath my home.  I filed an 
insurance claim to pay for the damage to the CH.  The insurance company 
declined to pay because:

1.  I shut off the water immediately
2.  Called a plumber right away to respond to the problem in my house even tho' 
it was after midnight thereby fulfilling my responsibilities as a homeowner for 
the event.
3.  In our by-laws the interior walls and the CH DR were common property are 
the responsibility of the community not the responsibility of the homeowner.

I filed twice and twice the insurance company refused to pay citing the by-laws.


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