My tenant (in condo) flooded unit below...

3 Replies

I own a second floor condo that I rent out. Last month there was a flood in my tenant's bathroom (she had hooked a device into the toilet water supply; the hose failed, and the toilet shut off valve was frozen). There was significant damage in the unit below.

I spoke to a lawyer who advised me this was an accident and I was not legally liable. The downstairs owner made a claim on my insurance and was denied based on the CC&Rs. The HOA's insurance is taking care of the physical damage.

However, the HOA insurance doesn't cover the downstairs owner's relocation expenses, and neither does his homeowner's insurance.

I feel terrible, and really wouldn't mind kicking him a grand or two. They have a special needs child. However, the lawyer and the insurance company have advised against me doing that. I understand the legal reasoning to just stay out of it, but it's gnawing at me as a person. Plus, it's making my relationship with the board even more difficult.

To compound matters, the board has always disliked my tenant, and in response the property manager sent me a loony tunes letter asking me to evict her based on the accident and other "nuisance violations" (her cat got out into the hallway a few times, she doesn't always break down her boxes, she walks around at night, she's surly). The unit is in Oakland, where it's extremely difficult to evict. They have also threatened to fine me for their costs / seek reimbursements to his costs. It's bluster and they don't have the basis to do so (but that gives me more fears about the property manager's general competence, as I understand the HOA should have no involvement at all).

Thoughts? Though it's not legally my problem, I feel awful for the people downstairs; they didn't ask for any of this, and the only mistake they made was an inadequate insurance policy. It's been almost two months now and their unit is still not repaired. 

for lack of a better phrase..screw the HOA. Listen to your insurance company and/or attorney.

There's a reason why you pay so much for insurance (and HOA fees). These things happen and you shouldn't be out of pocket for it.

Is there a lesson to be learned...yes. Next time require renter's insurance. 

Thanks, @Saj.

My renter has insurance--the floodee made a claim on the flooder's insurance, but I don't think that company is going to pay out either. 

At this point I am tempted to screw the HOA, because their overstepping is pissing me off -- but it's really only flooded guy who will be affected, not the HOA. I doubt the HOA will cover his expenses, either.

wow Anja, 

This just happened to me yesterday. I'm not sure what to do. the tenet called and said the toilet was partially backed up but still draining then I got a call from the HOA property manager because the downstairs neighbors bathroom was flooding. I called the plumber and fixed the issue on my end but I'm not sure what I'm responsible for in her unit...? I will have to call the insurance company and also find a lawyer.

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