Q&A: Responsibility for Rusty Pipes

Q My aunt owns a condo. The condo on top of hers had a plumbing problem that was leaking to her bathroom below. They opened a hole in her wall to see the condition of the pipes. They were rusty and were leaking. Is the building association responsible for this repair or is she?

—Concerned Niece

A “The repair of the pipe is a wear and tear item,” says Kenneth Direktor, a shareholder attorney at the community association law firm of Becker & Poliakoff, based in Fort Lauderdale. “As such, responsibility for repair of the pipe is governed by the Declaration of Condominium. As for the water damage, this is a casualty loss. The responsibility for repairing casualty damage is governed by the Florida Condominium Act. Usually water damage affects walls, ceilings, floors and certain furnishings within the unit. The association's coverage should pay to repair the walls, subject to the deductible, but the wall treatments, ceiling treatments, floor treatments and interior furnishings are the unit owner's responsibility.”

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