Who Pays For Water Damage Restoration In A Condo?

Some clear positives of buying a condo include a great location, less yard to manage, and a pool with no maintenance.  Some negatives might be not being able to put solar panels on your roof and limitations on holiday decorations for your front door. But an important question is about responsibility for water damage restoration within your unit. Who pays?

The distinction determining the owner’s responsibility for repairs and  improvements and the homeowners association’s (HOA) responsibility is oftentimes extremely hazy and uncertain. Among these much-debated topics is the question of who is responsible for water damages to individual properties. In an area like Augusta where heavy rainfall is common during the summer months, the determination is critical.

For instance, if it is the result of an HOA water damage negligence, then the homeowner should not be responsible for it. Similarly, if the water damage was caused by the association failing to fulfill HOA plumbing responsibilities, they must answer for the damages as well. So, is an HOA responsible for water damage? It depends on who you ask…

According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), homeowners policies, like condo insurance, may help cover water damage caused by burst pipes, rain and ice dams. It may not cover sewer or drain backups or flooding, which would require additional coverages or policies.

So it really depends on your particular association (and documentation.) You need to review the governing documents to see where your HOA stands. 

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Check Those Papers!

Remember that thick stack of documents you received when you bought your home? Hopefully you can find that binder or the electronic file containing the governing documents. The best documents will be thorough and meticulous, often with a section on HOA water damage responsibility specifying the exact situations wherein an HOA or a homeowner should be held accountable.

These papers will usually specify that any interior damage due to water is the responsibility of the homeowner. Alternatively, any water damage affecting the exterior of the home, such as shingles or paint, is the responsibility of the HOA. This falls under HOA exterior maintenance.

However, the governing documents are often vague and the issue of HOA water damage is more complex.  You need to get a competent water restoration team on site now to help assess the situation and start cleaning. Rumsey Construction of Augusta is on call 24/7.

What Is An Owner Responsible For?

A property owner; you are responsible for the maintenance and repair of the pipes that supply water– all the pipes that run inside your home and outside too. For example, if there’s a leak on the property boundary, then that is the homeowner’s responsibility. In case the supply pipe goes out of your boundary to someone else’s property, as long as it supplies your home with water; this still makes it your responsibility to take care of and repair.

According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), condo owners are responsible for insuring their own unit. That means if a water leak causes damage to an individual condo, it’s typically the responsibility of the condo owner, not the Homeowners Association (HOA).

You’re responsible for the water pipes, drains, and plumbing fixtures on your property and ensuring that they conform to the required standards. Therefore, leak detection, repair, and replacement are on your dime.

What is Typically Covered By HOA?

Water from common areas is a good example. If the water came from one of the common areas you share with your neighbors, like the fitness area, the association’s policy would kick in. 

The only way to really know what’s covered is to ask for and review a copy of your condo association’s master insurance policy and any condominium documents such as your association’s declarations and bylaws. Ideally review these with YOUR insurance agent before a problem occurs, so you can adjust your own coverage to fill in any gaps.

What Is Never Covered? FLOODING!

Water that comes from the ground up, like street flooding  or a storm is typically not covered by standard homeowner or condo insurance, according to the III. This would require a separate flood insurance policy. For more information on flood insurance, contact your insurance company.

If You Need The Experts

Again, knowing what’s covered under your condo association’s master insurance policy can make it easier to know what to include in your condo insurance policy. Read through all coverage options carefully to help ensure you have the protection you need. If you’re ever unsure about the specifics of your policy, clarify with your insurance agent. In addition, preparedness and prevention, as well as communication within the community, can go a long way in solving the problem.

Often water damage is more extensive and the materials are wetter than they appear to be. Get some expert advice if you are tackling water damage in your condo. Rumsey Construction and Restoration has been serving South Carolina with superior construction and disaster restoration services for over thirty years. 

Rumsey Construction will develop a specific plan for your situation for the most efficient cleanup process. These Columbia water damage cleanup specialists wll use the latest specialized equipment to evaluate, repair, and restore your home. Call the office. The water restoration team is available right now to help at any time. Here you can chat live, get a quote, or see a portfolio of before/after photos.