Legal Question in Real Estate Law in California

Water Leak within ceiling

I have a water leak WITHIN the ceiling of my condominium. It is my understanding that this is common area and repairs should be made by the HOA. I notified the HOA in writing of this leak and they have refused to accept any responsibility for the repairs. They will not even send out a plumber to look at the problem. I was told by the Property Management Company that one of the Board of Directors said iI might have remodeled my kitchen and caused the problem. No modifications have ever been made to my kitchen. I believe this board member's decision to do NOTHING is based on a personal vendetta against me and certain other homeowners; it is certainly not consistent with the CC&R's. This is the third instance where common area repairs affecting my unit have been totally ignored. Please let me know what i can legally do, as I believe this is nothing short of willful miscondut of a board member. I have tried to discuss this matter with the attorney which is retained by the HOA. She refused to talk with me, stating that I am not authorized to call her directly becasue of legal expenses which will be incurred. She said that all correspondence must be in writing, which has already ocurred with no response. HELP!

Asked on 12/20/05, 4:31 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

H.M. Torrey The Law Offices of H.M. Torrey

Re: Water Leak within ceiling

Under the unfortunate circumstances, you should strongly consider consulting with and/or retaining your own private attorney for negotiations and/or subsequent lawsuit purposes ASAP. If you would like a free consultation, contact us directly.

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Answered on 12/20/05, 4:57 pm

Carl Starrett Law Offices of Carl H. Starrett II

Re: Water Leak within ceiling

While the presumption under the Civil Code is that HOA maintains items within the common areas (including walls and pipes), this can be changed by the language of the CC&Rs. If the water pipe serves your unit exclusively, the CC&Rs might make this your responsibility. You should contact an experienced HOA attorney who can interpret the CC&Rs for you.

The HOA should obviously maintain and repair any areas specified in the Civil Code or the CC&Rs. If you did cause the problem, the HOA can legally seek reimbursement from you. HOAs hate spending money, so it may be necessary for you to have the repairs done yourself and then file suit for reimbursement.

The bottom line is to consult an experienced HOA attorney for further advice.

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Answered on 12/20/05, 5:58 pm

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