Condo water damage: who is responsible?

(this author is listed on Google Maps at http://maps.google.com/places/us/fl/hollywood/sheridan-st/4040/-law-offices-of-herb-milgrim-pa?hl=en )

The rainy season is upon us in Florida. Every afternoon the clouds form and the rain pours. Condo owners and homeowners need to be alert to the signs of roof leaks, water damage and mold contamination.  During heavy rains be sure to check the ceiling and areas around the window for signs of moisture.

For some condo owners in Florida they may not even be aware that their condo is slowly becoming contaminated by mold.  According to the Florida Department of  Health:

Many building materials (such as wood, sheetrock, etc.) provide food that can support mold growth. Even dust that has settled on these materials or furniture can be a food source for molds. Molds can grow almost anywhere there is enough moisture or high humidity. Controlling moisture is the key to stopping indoor mold growth, because all molds require water to grow.

In Florida, moisture can come from anywhere but some of the main culprits in Condominium’s and Townhouses are from the Roof Elements or from the Plumbing.  If you have water damage or mold contamination due to a roof leak there is a good chance that your Association is responsible for this as they have a non-delegable duty to maintain the common elements.  Don’t let your Association put the blame on someone else like the roofing company.  Because the Association’s duty to maintain the common elements cannot be delegated they are directly responsible to damaged owners.  If they deny your claim or cause unnecessary delay you can sue them and recover your damages and attorneys fees if successful.

Water damage may also be caused by faulty plumbing or broken air conditioners.  If that is the case you should consult with an  experienced  Condo Lawyer that focuses on representing owners.  The Attorney will most likely need to review the Governing Documents of the Condominium Association to determine if the cause of your leak was due to failure to maintain the common elements or limited common elements or from something that was under the care and control of another owner.

It is important to remember that even though the damage is to the interior of your home that does not mean that you are limited to bringing a claim against your own insurance company.  Many Association board members try to pawn off the Association’s liability by getting the owner to bring a claim against their own insurance.  Unfortunately most individual policies either won’t cover mold damage or have limited coverage.   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 South Florida be sure to contact us for a free case evelaution.

The Associations have Law Firms on retainer using your maintenance dues so it is important that you seek out counsel before things get out of control.The majority of our real estate cases and condo owners’  cases are billed on an hourly basis. However, we always strive to recover our client’s legal costs as part of our successful case.

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