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  1. #1

    Default Am I Responsible for Maintaining Pipes Indefinitely

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

    I own a condo on the second floor of a three floor building. I was tiling my bathroom for the first time and poured some water down my kitchen sink that had some grout in it. I thought all of it had settled. There was a problem immediately with water backing up into the sink of my first floor neighbor which required some flushing and cutting through some stucco to get to some of the pipes. I paid the plumber bill and repair of the stucco.

    Two years later my neighbor had a major flood in his kitchen while he was out of town. The HOA took video of the pipes to prove that it was from residual grout. My homeowners insurance company paid a claim to my neighbor based on the proof of grout. Five months later I received a letter from the HOA claiming that I am responsible for maintaining the pipes annually without a time limit. I went to a lawyer who said that the statute of limitations for a problem is 3 years. Can the HOA make me pay to maintain the pipes and if so for how long? Also, do they have the right to keep saying that any blockages in the pipe are my responsibility? Should I consult a lawyer who has dealt with this issue before?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006

    Default Re: Am I Responsible for Maintaining Pipes Indefinitely

    does your HOA rules say anything to the matter?

    are you still rinsing grout down the pipes? That is the only reason I can see there would be a reoccurance of the problem, especially 2 years later. That may be why they are attempting to make the requirement as they are.

    Barring something in the HOA rules, you have no obligation to maintain the pipes outside of your unity, at all. Of course, if there are additional problems and they can link it to you, you would be liable for the damages, just as before.

    Also, do they have the right to keep saying that any blockages in the pipe are my responsibility?
    they can say anything they want but unless they can support their claims, it doesn't mean much. Of course, if any future blockages are your fault, you can be held liable for any damages.

    If you had not washed any grout down the lines since the initial incident, arguing it was "residual grout" is a real stretch. I would have argued that one till the cows came home that it was not my fault or not my grout.

    Just out of curiousity: did anybody grout anything on the 3rd floor between the time you did yours and the second obstruction was found?

  3. #3

    Default Re: Am I Responsible for Maintaining Pipes Indefinitely

    Thanks for your response. I stopped rinsing grout down the sink immediately after the first problem arose and have not rinsed anything like that down the drain again.

    As far as I know, nobody from the third floor was grouting but I don't know for sure.

    The only thing that I can find in the HOA rules is that if anyone acts negligently to a common area they are responsible for any damages incurred. It is difficult to understand if the pipes are considered part of the "common area" or not when trying to read the language.

    The thing that I don't understand is what happens if I sell the place and move away...what are they going to do? There has to be some agreement to when my involvement with maintaining the pipes is done. It is frustrating to have an ongoing problem like this and something I can't just fix and be done with.

    Any other thoughts you have would be helpful. Thanks.

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