Ft. Lauderdale Condo Repairs and Incidental Damages
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Who is Responsible for Repairs of Condos in Ft. Lauderdale- Unit Owners or the Condo Association?
The responsibility for making repairs in a Ft. Lauderdale condo building is divided between the unit owners and the association depending on several factors. These include whether the repair is for a common element area versus an individual unit, and what caused the damage (i.e., normal use vs. a casualty).
Generally speaking, your condo association will be responsible for repairs of common elements such as lobbies, parking lots, elevators, and recreation facilities. Accordingly, unit owners are responsible for the maintenance of their own units, as well as repairs for any improvements or upgrades that they made to the unit. The association is sometimes charged with repairing areas of the individual units that were part of the original construction, such as floors and walls.
Can an Insurance Company Help Cover Repair Costs?
Generally, yes. Ft. Lauderdale condo associations are required by Florida law to provide a master insurance policy to cover the common elements
. Unit owners are also required by the law to insure their own units. The costs for any repairs of common elements that exceed the amounts covered by the master insurance plan will be distributed among the unit owners.
Please note that a discussion of basic condo repairs usually only refers to normal maintenance and repairs. Florida casualty repair laws cover damages done by emergencies such as a hurricane, or unforeseeable circumstances like a broken water pipe. Check with a lawyer for more information if your repairs are due to a casualty.
My Condo Unit was damaged by the Association while they were repairing a Common Element Area. Who will pay for the Damage?
Some Ft. Lauderdale condo associations include an incidental damages clause in their rules and regulations. Incidental damages clauses state that the association will be responsible for repairing damage to a unit caused by association repairs of common elements. This can happen quite frequently, for example if the association needs to cut through a wall in order to repair the common element.
In such cases the association is responsible for damage to unit property that was part of the original construction scheme, while the unit owner will be responsible for damage done to improvements. You should be aware that in some instances you may have to show that the association was negligent in their actions, especially to recover damages to improvements.
In the event that your association does not have an incidental damages clause, then you may have to bear the burden of repairing your unit. So, you confirm if your association has an applicable incidental damages clause. If they don’t you may wish to request that they amend their rules to include such a clause.
What do I do if my Own Actions have Caused Damage to a Common Element or another Person’s Condo Unit?
Ft. Lauderdale condominium unit owners are obligated to behave in a way that will not damage common elements or other residents’ units. If your own negligence has caused damage to such areas, then you will have to bear the burden of repairs. In some instances a legal defense may be available, such as damage caused in order to remedy an emergency situation. In most cases, though, negligence will not excuse a person from responsibility.
Do I need an Attorney to Assist Me with my Condo Repairs Claim?
Hiring an attorney can be useful and at times necessary when dealing with condo disputes over repairs. Several different insurance polices can be involved in such disputes, in addition to the complex set of laws that govern Florida condos. There are many attorneys to choose from in the Ft. Lauderdale area who specialize in disputes over condominium repairs. Working with a lawyer can help clarify your options under Florida housing laws.
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Last Modified: 05-27-2010 12:13 PM PDT
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