If you live in a condominium, there is a reasonable chance that, at some point, you will experience one of the most frustrating events for homeowners: water intrusion caused by plumbing problems and related losses. The big difference between those who reside in a shared community, such as a condominium building, and those who reside in a single-family home is the added complication for condominium dwellers of determining responsibility and liability for any water damage and resulting remediation work.
In condominiums, the association is generally responsible for losses emanating from the property’s common elements. Complications for assigning responsibility, however, typically arise from losses that may originate from inside an owner’s dwelling unit, and may cause damage to adjacent or below units, as well as to the common elements.
Such cases are often resolved through a negotiation between insurance carriers for unit owners and those for the association’s property, assuming the owners have adequate coverage. Insurers tend to find the most common sources of water loss from inside a dwelling unit to be sinks, showers, toilets, faucets, drains, supply lines, valves and pipes. In addition, problems with appliances, such as dishwashers and refrigerators, are also likely culprits.
For shared walls and plumbing lines, insurers for multiple unit owners may be involved. In those cases, carriers often work together to inspect the affected property, determine the cause of the water loss and assign responsibility where it lies.