Mold and Water Damage in Condos Caused by Association’s Failure to Maintain Common Elements

It has been a particularly rainy spring in Florida and many condominium owners are dealing with water and mold damage because their Associations are failing to maintain the common elements in their complex. Fortunately, if the Association has failed to properly maintain the comment elements, such as the roof or the exterior walls, the Association should be responsible for any interior damage to your unit caused by the failure. Similarly, if the Association has been notified of a problem with a common element and ignored the problem, it will be responsible for resulting damage to the interior of your unit. As many of us are homebound due to the COVID-19 health crisis, the danger of mold growth from water damage must be taken seriously.  An experienced Florida Condo Attorney can help you understand your rights and maximize your recovery for water damage caused by your Association’s failure to maintain common elements.

What Constitutes a Common Element

Florida law defines common elements as “the condominium property which is not included within the units.” Essentially, they are the parts of a condo complex that belong to all owners. With a few exceptions, they constitute everything except the units in which people live. Corridors, garbage rooms, lobbies, locker areas, garages, technical rooms, the roof, grounds, walkways are all common elements.  Under Florida law, common elements also include:

  • Easements through units for conduits, ducts, plumbing, wiring, and other facilities for the furnishing of utility services to units;
  • An easement of support in every portion of a unit which contributes to the support of a building; and
  • The property and installations required for the furnishing of utilities and other services to more than one unit or to the common elements.

Importantly, the Association’s governing documents – particularly the declaration – may designate other parts of the condominium property as common elements, so these documents should be consulted if you are considering bringing a claim against your Association for water or mold damage as a result of failure to maintain common elements.

Condo Association Responsible for Water Damage to Units Caused by its Failure to Maintain Common Elements

Many Florida condo owners have complained that their Associations are not properly maintaining the common elements (roof, walls, plumbing) in their complex. Often the Association tries to blame the problem on others or to simply ignore it. In most of these cases, the condo owner has suffered damages due to water intrusion from the Association’s failure to maintain common elements.

If you have suffered water or mold damage in your condo as a result of, for example, the Association’s failure to fix a roof leak, you may have a viable breach of covenant claim. The same is true if you have suffered water damage in your unit due to the Association’s negligence in ignoring a leaky pipe. While the Association will be responsible for resultant mold growth, in addition to any water damage, it is important to note that many condominium insurance policies have very limited coverage for damage due to mold, and your Association will likely try to minimize their responsibility for what may be a very expensive mold remediation process. Furthermore, the full extent of costs related to water and mold damage to your unit may not be apparent at first.  Toxic mold can lead to serious health problems for the condo’s occupants. To maximize your recovery for these related health costs, you should consult a Florida condo attorney.

How We Can Help

If you have suffered water or mold damage to your Florida condominium due to your Association’s failure to maintain common elements, we welcome you to contact us at (954) 966-3909.  We serve the legal needs of individual condominium owners, homeowners and cooperative owners in resolving disputes with their associations throughout Florida, including Broward, Dade and Palm Beach Counties, as well as Hollywood, Davie, Pembroke Pines, Hallandale, Sunny Isles, Aventura, Miami, North Miami, Brickell, Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, and Naples.  We never represent associations.

Please note that free case evaluation is by telephone and does not include legal advice.  Office consults with legal advice are available on a flat fee basis.

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