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.