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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Water Damage from Another Tenant in a Multi-Unit Dwelling

5/27/2021 (Permalink)

Work truck preparing to fix water damage at an Oxford, MS condo Should your multi-unit dwelling suffer water damage from a neighbor, be familiar with your building's bylaws to determine fault.

Living in a multi-unit dwelling comes with its own set of pros and cons, but what happens when something goes wrong? Your home could experience water damage from another unit in the dwelling. What happens then? Are you responsible for getting it repaired yourself? Laws vary throughout the country, but the tricky answer is that “it depends.” Mostly, it depends on what was damaged and the location of the damage. Most condos and townhouses have a Homeowners Association (HOA) that spells out what happens when a unit is damaged. In many cases, the bylaws cover “common elements” and damage in a unit is the responsibility of the owner. Should an incident be caused by negligence of one owner, resulting in damages to another owner's property, the negligent owner's liability insurance could come into play.

There are some things to look for to stop water damage before it becomes a problem. One of the major culprits is blocked gutters. Keep your gutters clean and clear so they don't overflow and cause an issue. It is also important to ensure your appliances are maintained. Refrigerators, dishwashers, and washing machines can leak into a neighbor's unit, and you would likely be on the hook for the bill. Follow a maintenance schedule for your appliances to keep them working properly. Does your condo or townhome have a sump pump? These are often the cause of water issues in multi-unit dwellings. While the HOA is usually the owner of the sump pump, they're sometimes located in a particular unit, meaning that the owner needs to make sure it is operating efficiently.

In short, make sure you are familiar with the bylaws of your multi-unit condo or townhome. Should any damage occur, it's a good idea to consult the bylaws to ensure you're following the proper steps to get the problem solved. Should your condo or townhome experience a water loss, give us a call at SERVPRO of Oxford/Batesville/Clarksdale at 662-281-1881.  We're available 24/7 and quick to the scene to make it “Like it never even happened.”

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