|CONDOCENTRIC: Residents In Water Over Floods In Unit|
We reside in a downtown condo on the 30th floor. Above our ceiling are the pipes from our building. During the past six months we have had four floods in our unit. Two caused minimal damage (warped cupboards, soggy carpet) and two caused more extensive damage (leaks on our antique dining room table and piano, wall and carpet damage). Our insurance paid for the restoration of our contents, and the corporation did pay for repainting the walls. Now we have had another flood! There has been extensive damage to the rugs and carpets, walls and upholstery. Do we have any recourse here? No one, including the property manager, seems to be alarmed about this, saying "well, that's where our pipes run". It is very frustrating. Our insurance company has paid three claims and suggests we seek legal advice. What do you advise us to do?
Ordinarily, while a condominium corporation has an obligation to maintain and repair the common elements, it does have some discretion in deciding when, within reason, repairs and maintenance are to be carried out in view of its existing budgetary constraints.
While there can be problems, particularly in older buildings, where pipes develop pin hole leaks, it would seem that four (4) instances of water escape over six (6) months from the same grouping of pipes above a particular unit is suspicious and suggests that the condominium corporation may not be fulfilling its obligation to maintain and repair the common elements.
I would imagine that the unit owner has already submitted a written complaint to the board of directors and property management regarding the repeated floods from this one grouping of pipes, and requested a written reply on behalf of the board of directors. At this time, given that four (4) floods have already occurred, it might be prudent and time effective for the unit owner to have his/her lawyer write the letter, and to also seek legal advice with a view of obtaining a compliance order against the condominium corporation under the Condominium Act.
Where a condominium corporation fails to carry out its duties under the Condominium Act, including its obligations to maintain and repair the common elements, a unit owner may make bring a Summary Application to Court for an order demanding that the condominium corporation fulfill its duties.
From “The Toronto Star" on November 16, 2002 - Condo Living Section P2
All of the information contained in this article is of a general nature for informational purposes only, and is not intended to represent the definitive opinion of the firm of Elia Associates on any particular matter. Although every effort is made to ensure that the information contained in this newsletter is accurate and up-to-date, the reader should not act upon it without obtaining appropriate professional advice and assistance.