HOA expects my renters to be without heat and hot water during repair

5 Replies

Would like to get some feedback on below.

I have a town house that is managed by a management company but the HOA is responsible to make decisions in legal matters.

The owner of the unit next to mine has a defective leaking water heater since over a year but was not fixing the issue. The money she got from her insurance to repair the damages caused by the leaking water was used by her otherwise. Now are things so bad that the HOA decided to get insurance of the master policy to pay for the damages. This is already rediculous by itself but I am expected to tell my tenants that they will not have air conditioning or hot water during the repair of the neighbors unit. The date of repair was set around a time when it is convenient for the neighbor while she is on vacation. I requested to pay a hotel for my tenants during the time of repair and have been told that the insurance will not cover this. I deal since years with this guy's and had to have my renters already jumping thru hoops and loops before. Any suggestions what to do in this case? Selling the house is not an option in near future.

Thanks

Look at Maryland Code §8–211.  This issue falls under the Implied Warranty of Habitability guidance.

I am not a lawyer. The way I interpret the code is that if the heat and hot water being off for a set amount of time is not something that was caused by your property then the HOA master insurance policy, HOA, or possibly offending tenant will need to cover the temporary housing expenses.

My advice start with printing off the code and contacting the HOA in person regarding the code and repayment of the temporary housing expenses. If the HOA declines, call and send a certified letter to the HOA attorney informing them of the situation, the HOA assuming responsibility for the repairs, the HOA declining to abide by code 8-211. If the lawyer responds siding with the HOA then I would contact the Master Insurance Policy company and send them the same info you sent the lawyer.

Lastly you have to decide what value you place on your time, stress, and if you are a professional landlord who treats their rentals as a business and file a Civil court case for damages, attorneys fees, filing fees, court costs, and any collection fees can be amended to a judgment and added later.

It would be in your best interest Now to start accumulating any evidence you can (emails sent addressing the issue, pictures of repair people and/or water heater in neighbors unit, phone logs notifying the HOA of this issue, repair bills from leaking water heater damage.)

Good Luck

Interest can be added to a judgment collections also Maryland Code §11–107 which seems to be a generous 10%

I am lost , how does a neighbors hot water heater repair  have anything to do with your units water and air conditioning ?

Thank you for the great advice Jeff. I appreciate it. 

@ Matthew Paul. The utility closets of the 2 units, that house each individual water heater and A C system, are next to each other and sit on the same floor. There is a wooden wall that separates the closets but the constant flow of water damaged as well the wood floor of the utility closet of my unit. The closets are located on the second floor, the ground floor would not be an issue. 

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