Ashley Tavormina, Commercial Account Associate, explains how to best determine who holds responsibility in the case of a bursted pipe in an apartment building.
Most boards and property managers believe that if a pipe in someone’s unit causes damage to their unit only, that owner is responsible for the damage. In addition, most believe that if that same pipe causes damage to someone else’s apartment, the owners whose pipe burst is responsible. In most cases that isn’t true as the norm is it’s not what caused the damage, but what was damaged.
So if the pipe burst under the sink in unit 2A and damages the floors, walls and ceiling in their own apartment or someone else’s apartment, assuming the floors, walls and ceiling were the associations responsibility, the association would be responsible for the damage.
The exceptions generally are 1) whether negligence on the owners part caused the damage or 2) if the bylaws indicate something different than the norm such as damage starting in one unit and causing damage to that same unit is that owner’s responsibility or the deductible in that situation is the owners responsibility. Otherwise assume it’s not what caused the damage but what was damaged.
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