My question involves a condominium located in the State of Virginia.
About three months ago, the unit I own was flooded as a result of a leaky toilet in the upstairs apartment. I had the damage mitigated immediately - the insides were gutted and dried out to remove the resulting moisture. After a lengthy wait, the insurance has finally paid out funds from the master policy to the condominium association for the restoration of the apartment. The association has been anything but helpful throughout this entire process. Now that they have their hands on the funds, they're telling me that I need to have my contractor invoice them directly, rather than cutting me a check for the full amount they received from the insurance company. They claim they're doing this "to prevent insurance fraud," because their lawyer advised them to handle it this way. Huh?!
So my question is this: from a legal standpoint, to whom does this money belong? Is it the association's because they are the policy holder, or is it mine because I own the unit and I pay a fee each month that includes the cost of carrying the policy? Does the condo association have the right to withhold these funds from me like this? It seems to me that the insurance payout is intended to cover my personal loss, not to be hijacked by the management for their profit in the event that I don't invoice the full amount to a contractor. Am I wrong?