Imagine that you live in a condominium and have just returned home after a long day at work. You go to turn on your television only to find out that it's not working. You then see water dripping from the ceiling. You quickly realize that this leak has shorted out the electronics directly under it and caused extensive water damage to the wall and ceiling.
The question most people would ask in a situation such as this would be who is responsible for paying for this damage? If you're not sure of the answer, don't worry. Even though the situation seems straight forward, there could be a lot of factors at play that might make one party liable for compensation over another. Let's take a look.
Let's say for a moment that the leak is the result of a broken pipe within the building. In a situation such as this, the condominium owner or association that runs the building would be held responsible for repairing structural items like the drywall, the studs and the ceiling. This does not mean that the unit owner is not responsible for repairs though. Depending on the terms of the property agreement, a unit owner may be held responsible for replacing wall and floor covering and will need to replace their own personal property as well.
It's worth pointing out that both parties can consult their insurance provider to see what damages are covered by their policy in order to help cover repair costs.
Now, you might be asking yourself: what if negligence is a factor such as the owner of the unit above yours fails to repair their large aquarium, which causes the leak? Under Florida statutes, the unit owner that caused the damage to occur is then held liable for all repair costs that are not covered by insurance that have been incurred by the association and the other unit owner.
Because of how our state's statutes are worded, answering questions regarding liability for property damage can be difficult, especially if you do not have a working knowledge of the law. This is why it may be a good idea to tap into the knowledge of an attorney with experience handling cases involving residential property disputes. With their help, you can get the answers you need to reach a resolution you know is in accordance with the law.