My question involves a condominium located in the State of: New Jersey
We purchased a condo ( end unit) in October 2011 and in a couple of months had a deluge of water in the unfinished part of our basement after every rainfall. The water was seeping through a seam in our foundation. On checking with the management it seemed like they had addressed the problem in the past by filling hydraulic cement in the seams and were unwilling to do more. The previous owners of our property had not disclosed that information to us on the disclosure document. On asking them they said that the association had told them that it was a leaky sprinkler which was fixed after they complained about it and they did not notice any water after the fix. On pressing the management further, a structural engineer was called who said that he had visited the place before and had recommended that the outside be regraded so the water would be carried away from the foundation. The management addressed the problem ( i.e regraded the outside) after we showed them pictures of how much water were getting in our basement after every rainfall. After the regrading about 80% of our problem stands resolved. Instead of the gallons of water that we were getting earlier, we still get a cup or two or water with every rain. We are also noticing now that they water is the color of rust and there seems to be some damage to the iron rods inside the foundation. We are worried that the seeping water is damaging the foundation more and that the water problem could get worse in the future affecting the finished part of the basement. We have been following up with the management/board frequently but their response is that they have done "everything reasonable" and that "waterproofing" the foundation is not their responsibility.
Our bylaws and master deed clearly state that we are responsible for the inside of the unit only and the foundation is common property and the responsibility of the association. The board members have been insisting that they spoke to the condo lawyer who has interpreted that the management/board is not responsible for any active water problems anymore since everything "reasonable" has been done. There are no statements in the master deed referring to "reasonable" repairs of the foundation.
We are very frustrated with this ongoing problem. Is the condo lawyer right in his/her interpretation? What can we do and how should we proceed in this matter?
Any suggestions are welcome.