I am sitting here in my law office in Hollywood, near Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Aventura and the rain is pouring down. I figure with all the rain we are getting today it is probably a good day to make a visual inspection of my own home for signs of water intrusion. As a homeowner of a single-family home, I am the one ultimately responsible if water comes in through the roof or a crack in the foundation. Therefore it is important that I address my responsibilities. Unfortunately for many Florida condominium owners, Association Board Members and Property Management Companies charged with similar responsibilities are not as diligent.
As a Trial Attorney that helps individual condo owners, I get calls every day about various condo associations that have not maintained the common roof, walls, slab, or plumbing. In many of these cases, the Condo Board or Property Management tries to blame the problem on someone or something else or they simply try to ignore it altogether. In other cases they hire inexperienced, untrained workers to perform roof repairs and other work that should have been done by properly licensed and highly qualified experts in their field. In almost all of the cases, the individual condo owner has seen their condo unit severely damaged due to water intrusion resulting from the Condo Association’s failure to maintain the common elements. In some of the more serious cases, the condo units have become uninhabitable due to the presence of toxic mold.
According to the Florida Department of Health, an increase in the levels of mold in the home can significantly increase the risk of potential health problems. The Florida Department of Health has come up with a guide for individuals to use in conducting their own inspection of their home:
- Look for visible mold growth (it may look cottony, velvety, rough, or leathery and have different colors like white, gray, brown, black, yellow, or green). Mold often appears as a staining or fuzzy growth on furniture or building materials (walls, ceilings, or anything made of wood or paper). Look for signs of moisture or water damage (water leaks, standing water, water stains, condensation, etc.).
- Check around air handling units (air conditioners, furnaces) for standing water. Routinely inspect the evaporator coils, liner surfaces, drain pans and drain lines.
- Search areas where you notice mold odors. If you can smell an earthy or musty odor, you may have a mold problem.
- If mold-allergic people have some of the symptoms listed above when in your home, you may have a mold problem.
(d) Perform or offer to perform any mold remediation to a structure on which the mold assessor or the mold assessor’s company provided a mold assessment within the last 12 months. This paragraph does not apply to a certified contractor who is classified in s. 489.105(3) as a Division I contractor. However, the department may adopt rules requiring that, if such contractor performs the mold assessment and offers to perform the mold remediation, the contract for mold remediation provided to the homeowner discloses that he or she has the right to request competitive bids.
Over the past 24 years, we have handled hundreds of Condo Water Damage Cases. In almost all of the cases dealing with Florida Condominiums, the water intrusion or leaks usually originate from outside the unit and involve the common elements. The Condominium Declaration usually precludes individual owners from hiring their own people to fix a leak or source of water intrusion coming from outside the Unit if it involves repairs to a common element. Many individual condo owners that initially attempt to work with the Association to resolve the matter on their own have encountered difficulties trying to get the Association to fix the problem. Association Boards and Property Managers try to blame the cause on other owners or third parties like roofing companies and plumbers.
If you are tired of dealing with the matter on your own, you should seek out legal advice from an experienced Trial Attorney that represents condo owners. Your Association keeps expensive Florida Law Firms on Retainer so they can fight and delay your claim, and they pay these expensive Law Firms with your money. You should not be forced to deal with trained Property Managers and Attorneys without having someone fighting for you in your corner?
The Law Offices of Herb M. Milgrim, P.A., is a Florida Law Firm that represents Condo Owners, Homeowners and Cooperative Owners that have disputes or are contemplating Litigation or a Lawsuit against their Association. We provide prospective clients with a *Free Case Evaluation. You can call us and tell us about your case to see if we can help you. Once we have been retained we review all of the relevant documents and governing Florida Laws and advise our clients on the best course of action. Call us now (954) 966-3909!
If you have water or mold damage in your condominium, townhouse or cooperative in Hollywood, Hallandale Beach, Sunny Isles, Downtown Miami, Aventura, Davie, Dania Beach, Cooper City, Pembroke Pines, Tamarac, Coral Springs, Boca Raton, Delray Beach, or anywhere in Florida be sure to contact us for a free case evaluation.