I am often asked about who is responsible when a neighbors water heater bursts and it floods the surrounding condominium units. Specifically, the client would like to know who is responsible to pay for the damage and/or repairs to items considered as personal property.
In Florida, this type of occurrence is covered under a unit owner’s homeowner’s insurance policy. The condominium unit owner that was harmed by the water damage, should simply file a claim with their own insurance company. Generally speaking, the insurance company will simply pay the claim related to the personal property and not seek reimbursement from anyone unless the damage was caused by the other unit owner’s negligence, in which case things become a little more complicated. However, in most cases this is simply a casualty event, which is something that happens without warning and through no fault of anyone.
The other question I am asked by most clients in this regard relates to association’s responsibility for the personal property when this type of event occurs. According to Florida Statute 718.111 (11) after January 1, 2009, the insurance that Florida condominium associations are required to carry shall exclude from coverage all personal property within a unit, including floor, wall and ceiling coverings, along with other items of personal property within the condominium unit. Therefore, each unit owner should carry their own insurance to protect their personal property against events like the bursting of a water heater and other issues that routinely occur in Florida condominiums.
If you are interested in learning more about this topic, you can either post a comment to this blog, contact me, a Condominium Lawyer, by email, or call me at (954) 458-8655 and I will be happy to answer your questions. I offer a free initial consultation.
South Florida Condos – Condo Property Insurance is a Real Concern for Owners, Sellers and Buyers: Too Many Must Fight Insurance Companies Who Deny Damage Claims – Condo Water Damage Losses
Is this current as of 7/18/11?
The same thing happened to me….supposedly a refrigerator filter burst while i was out at work… I found out because i received a phone call from the association saying that the tennant downstairs complained of water leaking from upstairs…I immediately contacted a friend to run over and check my apartment. He called the fire department who ‘shut off the valve where the water came from.’ I do nto know exactly what happened since I was not there… The association claims that a water filter is not covered since it is not an internal pipe that leaked water and therefore there was nothing that they would covered. It was until then that i discovered that I needed a home owners insurance policy…All along I thought I had coverage through the association insurance I was paying for… Nobody advised me of this at the time i purchased the condo back in March of 2009! Regardless the tennant downstairs submitted a claim and now his insurance is looking for me to get reimbursed $14,000.! I dont have homeowers insurance, nor do i think its fair that i am made responsible since a refridgerator filter, like a water heater, can burst at any time! Besides, how do i know that its actually what happened? how do i know that the leak did not come from somewhere else behind frisdge and that the fire departmetn just yanked the fridge to see where the water came from and broke the filter while doing so? thereafter any one who would investigate the scene would evidently blame it on the fridge filter… which is what happened when I brought someone to connect the fridge back on to the pipe… I really do not know how to handle this situation…
So the upstairs condo wins? Yes these things happen but seems like the bottom units take the abuse.
Hello, my upstair neighbors negligence caused severe water damage to my condo unit and personal property. I’d like to have someone represent me on my recovery of damages. Please feel free to call me directly.