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  1. #1

    Default Repair of Condo Water Supply Transition Point: Building to Condo Unit

    My question involves a condominium located in the State of: Florida

    My condo in Florida has a water leak. The leak is on the main water supply line into the condo. The pipe comes into the condo, goes thru a shutoff valve, then is distributed within the condo. The leak is on the "supply side". I can't turn my shutoff valve off and fix it, I need to turn the supply to the entire block of condos off.

    My condo board says it's my responsibility because the leak is inside the condo. I think it's theirs because the water is not "delivered" to the unit until it passes thru the shutoff valve I control.

    The question is -is there anything in writing, 2010 Florida building code or elsewhere, that defines when ownership transitions from the building to the individual condo? The condo board has already rejected the claim, so to overturn that I would need to refer to some written standard. There are condo bylaws, but they don't address something this specific.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Repair of Condo Water Supply Transition Point: Building to Condo Unit

    Fundamentally, this is an issue of contract. See Cali v. Meadowbrook Lakes View Condo. Ass'n B Inc., 59 So.3d 363, 367 (Fla. 4th DCA 2011) ("The Declaration of Condominium strictly governs the respective duties and responsibilities as between an association and the unit owners." (citing Woodside Vill. Condo. Ass'n v. Jahren, 806 So.2d 452, 456 (Fla.2002))). Cali discusses ambiguous language relating to pipes that serve multiple units, but only to conclude that there's jury question.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Repair of Condo Water Supply Transition Point: Building to Condo Unit

    Is this something that could be taken to small claims? I would think if I could get this in front of a judge or jury, I'd have a pretty good shot.

    Most of the year I'm not in Florida. Are there any options that can be executed remotely?

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    Default Re: Repair of Condo Water Supply Transition Point: Building to Condo Unit

    You can take anything you want to small claims court. If you're the plaintiff, you will have the burden of proof in court. You've shared nothing here that would let us comment on your respective contractual duties pertaining to the leak at issue.

    If you are out of state and it's not convenient for you to do so, you can hire a lawyer to analyze the issue and negotiate on your behalf. Your lawyer can initiate a lawsuit while you're out-of-state, but you can expect that you would have to at times travel to Florida to participate in legal proceedings.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Repair of Condo Water Supply Transition Point: Building to Condo Unit

    It is generally determined by the condo association agreement. However, from basic principle and equity I would say you are correct. The demarcation line for the water pipe is at the turn-off valve in your unit. You have no control over anything past that point, the condo board does. Your best bet is to find a Florida condo attorney and if he agrees with you, have him send a letter to the condo board explaining the facts of life.

    Another option, especially if this is or could cause damage to your unit or others, armed with the opinion of the condo board, hire a contractor yourself to fix it. Then send the bill to the condo board and if they don't pay it, sue them at that point. It will be cheaper and simplier for everyone than waiting for damage, etc. and then each side suing the other back and forth over the damages and who is liable.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Repair of Condo Water Supply Transition Point: Building to Condo Unit

    Just tell the condo folks you are going to turn off what they construe to be your valve so you can repair the pipe (regardless of the need to turn it off at the street). I would tell them that it may be off for a considerable period of time and it just isn't that high on your list of priorities to get it fixed right away.

    see how they respond

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Repair of Condo Water Supply Transition Point: Building to Condo Unit

    Quote Quoting Conrad Hunter
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    It is generally determined by the condo association agreement. However, from basic principle and equity I would say you are correct. The demarcation line for the water pipe is at the turn-off valve in your unit. You have no control over anything past that point, the condo board does.
    It's not that simple. Let's say the break was inside the unit - past the point where the pipe comes out of the wall but before the point at which the condo's shut-off valve is located - who would pay the repair?

    There's a reason the case, linked above, addressing a very similar scenario said that there was a jury question.

    The condo owner does not necessarily have the legal right to make this repair independent of the condo association, and I would not count on a contractor or municipality shutting off water to multiple units without notice to the association.

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