Insurance claim: HOA not accepting responsibility

6 Replies

Back in November 2017, my rental (condo) had water a backup/leak from the kitchen sink area. This caused a bunch of water damage to the hardwood floors in the kitchen area and along the hallway (warped planks, etc). This forced me to have all the floors replaced (with luxury vinyl plank instead for water resistance/longevity) which cost about $6K all in.  When the professional plumber came in to fix the leak they mentioned they had to use a 30 ft snake to unclog the pipes.

I went to file a claim with my insurance and they said it is not covered because the issue did not happen with the pipes inside my specific unit. I went to the HOA and they have denied responsibility. Is there anything I can do at this point?

This will greatly depend on how your building is designed and what is in your covenants.

In some covenants, you are responsible for any item which serves only your unit. So even if the snake had to go out 30', if that is a sewer line serves only your unit, then you are responsible, not the HOA.

I have a condo in a property where the covenants state that they will pay to repair anything that breaks that they are responsible for, but will not pay to repair anything belonging to the owner that gets damaged. For example, there was a hole in the roof of a condo. The HOA paid to repair the roof and the hole, but the covenants indicated that the homeowner was responsible to repair/replace everything that was damaged in their own unit. This included paint, furniture, flooring, etc - all on the owner, not the HOA.

The key here is to read your covenants and understand what you are responsible for. Once you have a firm understanding, then you can decide whether or not you should take on the HOA

(Note that nobody will reimburse you for upgrading to luxury vinyl plank.  At the most, they will only pay for like material that was installed at the time of damage)

Your insurance should cover your contents (flooring, texture on walls, cabinets, light fixtures, etc.) the COA (condo association) will cover Sheetrock out and slab of floor. In Florida the owners policy is called an HO6 policy. If you can prove the clog was in the main plumbing stack the Association should pay the plumber’s invoice. This type of event is called a causality no party knew it was going to happen and no party knowingly put off repairs.

Your insurance won’t cover this unless you have sewer- water back up on your policy because it’s viewed as a “maintenance issue.” As far as the HOA paying out is there anything stated in your bylaws?

Keep in mind you were not forced to replace all of your floors with the new flooring. You may have felt desperate in the moment and wanted better floors but no one forced you to. Be sure to keep that in mind and perhaps think out your choices when you have another emergency in the future.

Read the HOA bylaws to see what you are entitled to. The cost of a legal battle may be more expensive than the cost of the damage though.

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