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Leaking Pipe

A leak was spotted and the HOA was notified and they called a plumber who came out. I was not notified until the plumber came out 3 times and check two other units and apparently they also wanted to check my unit. Since I work full time I could not answer the door. I was not called or emailed for an appointment. When I was notified, I promptly called my warranty company for my own plumber. Can they charge me for the appointments I never made with their plumber who came out and saw the other condos? After my plumber said there was no leak, they were not satisfied as this occasional leak still happened. So they called their plumber again and coordinated with me. This I agree I owe for. This plumber did find the leak which is in one of my pipes. Upon finding the leak I told them I would coordinate to have my warranty company come back out and they agreed. Before my warranty company could return, they had an atty mail me with demand letter for payment. My warranty company first denied me because they cannot enter the garage of another unit to fix the pipe which are located above the ceiling of the neighbors garage, but now they have agreed to cut through the outside wall. I do need the information from the original plumber though. The HOA management company will not speak to me and the HOA plumber refuses to speak to me because they say I am not their customer although they had no problem being in my home for 4 hours and cutting into my drywall without my permission. I called and emailed my HOA management company and they will not return my communication. I have not been rude and I have proof of all communication. I just received a letter from the attorney to cease and desist all communication with the HOA management company, the HOA board, and the plumbing company. I can only go through this atty through mail or email, they have no phone number and they actually prefer regular mail? I am not sure what to do. I need the paperwork from Rainforest plumbing. I don’t even know who or what to pay even if I planned on paying. I don’t believe I owe for the original visits, I do not believe I should have to pay for atty fees that I am probably being charged. I am falling apart. I am a single mother, a teacher, and a veteran. I am hoping if I have to get an atty or something that I could find one that would help me because as of now I don’t even know how to pay for the repairs when I find a plumber. Do you have any suggestions?

1 Response

  1. dennisl

    Denise,

    Clearly you live in a condo. Typically the association is responsible for any repairs that need to be done to the common property and any pipes or structures inside the walls are typically common property even if they serve only your unit. Please start with reading your CC&R’s for the definition of what constitutes common property and what constitutes your individual unit. Some CC&R’s differ from the norm, so finding that out is your most important first step. It sounds to me that the association approached the leak as if it was common property but are now trying to charge you for that repair instead of it being an association cost. This happens all the time because people don’t know enough to fight back. Management companies and attorneys simply do what the association wants, irrespective of the law and they figure that letters from attorneys will scare people into paying for bills that they do not owe. As for the communication issue with your management company that is also typical as is the use of the cease and desist letters. While the management company is right you are not their customer the board is if they are managing your community they have the duty to deal with the issues that are raised in that community. Report and provide the communications from the community manager to the board at their next board meeting. If the board refuses to get the management company to treat the people in the community fairly and with respect than initiate a petition to remove the board and replace them with people that will take their responsibilities to the community seriously and fire any management company that disrespects the people in the community.

    If for some reason your CC&R’s dictate that the pipe servicing your unit are your responsibility to repair than you are responsible to reimburse the association the cost of their repair efforts. If not you owe nothing to the association since it is their responsibility to repair. Let me know what your CC&R’s say and I’ll guide you further.

    Dennis

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