Miami Condo Repairs and Incidental Damages

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Who is Responsible for Repairs of Condos in Miami- the Condo Association or Unit Owners? 

Responsibility for repairs in a Miami condominium complex is distributed between the association and unit owners based upon some major distinctions, such as: whether the repair is for a common element versus within an individual unit, and what type of repair needs to be done (whether normal maintenance vs. casualty repairs). 
In general, the association is responsible for the maintenance and repairs of common elements of the complex such as parking lots, lobbies, elevators, and recreational facilities. Likewise, the unit owner is responsible for the maintenance of their own units as well as repairs of improvements or additions to the units. The association is usually responsible for maintaining facets of individual units that were part of the original construction, such as walls and ceilings. 

How can an Insurance Company Help with Repair Costs?

In order to cover costs, Miami condo associations are required by law to provide a master insurance policy covering the common elements of the complex. Unit owners are also required by law to insure their own individual units. Costs of repairs for common elements that exceed the insurance coverage will be spread amongst unit owners. 
Bear in mind that a discussion of repairs usually refers only to the normal maintenance and upkeep repairs for condos. Emergencies such as hurricanes and unforeseen damages such as a broken water pipe are covered by Florida casualty repair laws. Check with a lawyer if the damage is due to a casualty rather than normal usage.   

In the Process of Repairing a Common Element area the Association has damaged my Unit. Who is Responsible for the Damage?

Check to see if your Miami condo association’s rules and regulations contain an incidental damages clause. Such a clause will state that the association is responsible for repairing damages caused to a unit during repairs of common elements. This may be the case, for example, when the association must cut through walls or ceilings in order to repair the common elements. 
Again, the association will be responsible for damage done to unit property that was part of the original construction, while you will still be responsible for damage done to condo improvements. Also be aware that in some instances you may need to prove that the association was negligent in causing the damage during repairs, especially with damage to improvements.
If your condo association does not have such an incidental damages clause, then you might be held responsible for paying for the damage done to your unit. Check to see if your condo has an incidental damages clause, and if they do not, then inquire as to whether they may amend their rules to include the clause. 

What if my Own Actions have Caused Damage to a Common Element or another Person’s Condo Unit?

Miami condominium unit owners have a responsibility to behave in a way that will not cause damage to common elements or the units of other people’s residents. If your negligence has caused damage to such areas, then you will have to bear the burden of repairing the damage. You may be entitled to a legal defense, for example if you have acted in attempts to alleviate an emergency. In most cases, however, unit owners will be held responsible for damages caused by their own negligence.

Should I hire a Lawyer to Help Me with my Condo Repairs Claim?

A lawyer will certainly be useful in presenting a claim for condo repairs. This is because there may be several different insurance policies involved, as well as a myriad of Florida housing laws. There are many lawyers in the Miami area who are well-versed in condo dispute claims, and they will be able to inform you of your options available under condo laws.

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Last Modified: 05-27-2010 11:55 AM PDT

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