Condo Association being sued by Condo Owner...need advice

1 Reply

Hi,

I am the Vice President of a Condo Home Owner Assoc. and also own a condo in the building of 24 condos, which I rent out.  The building is a Historic building on the National Register built in 1912.   We have had numerous water issues, from roof leaks, to plumbing issues, to tuck pointing all pretty much associated with the age of the building.  We had a new roof installed and new gutters in 2012, replaced and repaired plumbing stacks/pipes that failed and have done extensive tuck pointing. Almost no one has NOT been affected by water issues. All but one owner was satisfied with their repairs, in which the nature of this particular problem...tuck pointing.... was exactly similar and damage comparable. 

Here is the problem.  One condo owner did not accept the repairs of her plaster ceiling and walls which were damaged by water in her Dining rm. She demanded much more be done, such as totally refinish floors, replace historic french doors etc. She would not let us proceed to repair until her demands were met.  She then moved out with out notification, or our knowledge, and stopped paying Maintenance fees that are around $330 a month.   She insisted she could not live there because of mold.  We had a mold analysis ($1200) done which was paid for by the Assoc. and it was inconclusive...may or may not cause health issues.  She has not produced any medical bills.

She hired an attorney and now there is a law suite, demanding 18K, to make repairs to her condo which now includes the kitchen and laundry rm. floors and doors, which was not affected by the leak. Also, forgiveness of Maintenance, and Late Fees, that are now $25K, living expenses, and a total elimination of mold, plus attorney fees and etc. You get the picture.  They refused mediation, several times, but now have agreed to mediate which is in a few weeks.  We initially offered around 5K to fix the repairs in the dining rm which was what it cost to fix the units similarly affected.   There has been no heat or air conditioning during her absence of now going on over 3 years.  She bought her place approximately 8 years ago and it is in 1912 condition with no updates to plumbing ,electrical, plaster, paint, cosmetic or otherwise.  We do have a lawyer.  I believe this not a valid law suite but we are going have to give something to get this settled, according to our lawyer. I believe we have a strong case if we go to court but already spent around 8K on lawyer fees. We have spent so much time and effort improving this building and I hate to lose all that we have gained in the past several years to this person.  Any advice for Mediation?

Settling is likely your best course of action.  Courts have been very friendly to claims of mold health issues the last 15 years or so. I wouldnt want to be on the other side of a case while someone who has mold sensitivity issues was testifying in front of a jury.

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