Living in a shared community offers many benefits to unit owners, but it also comes with questions and, at times, complications, especially when those questions involve some of the greyer areas of community living, such as who takes responsibility when a water leak occurs in the HOA.
Water Leak Responsibility in Chicago Condo Associations
Typically, the responsibility for water leaks is determined by understanding whether the leak originated from common elements or individual units.
If the water leak originates from a common element of the condominium building, such as the roof, foundation, plumbing in shared walls or common pipes, the condo association is generally responsible for repairs. The cost of these repairs is covered by the condo association’s maintenance fund, to which all unit owners contribute by way of monthly fees. Association insurance should also offer some financial protection.
Conversely, if the water leak originates in a unit owner’s individual unit, that owner is usually responsible for repairs. This includes leaks caused by plumbing within the walls, appliances or fixtures belonging to the unit owner.
In general, unit owners are responsible for any repairs needed within the boundaries of their units, including walls, floors, and ceilings, but they may also be responsible if the water leak damages a neighboring unit. In this case, it all really depends on the situation. Coverage could fall under the condo association’s master insurance policy, the unit owner’s individual policy, or the neighbor’s individual policy.
If you experience water damage to your condo unit, the first thing you should do is try to stop or mitigate the damage. You’ll then want to notify your board and insurance company right away if the damage is extensive.
To learn more about association management in Chicago, get in touch with our team at First Community Management.