Flood Damage to Unit Due to HOA Work Jenna Blumenfeld asked 2 weeks ago
Flood Damage to Unit Due to HOA Work

Hello,

Five weeks ago, my condo was damaged in a flood incident that occurred because my HOA was conducting a drainage mitigation project on the property. There’s extensive documentation that the drainage was removed and no temporary drainage system was added in its place to protect the lower-level units. During a rainstorm, two inches of water poured into my unit and caused upwards of $30k worth of damage. While the HOA called in an emergency crew to clean the water out, dry the unit, and remove the floors, the project has stalled.

I did not have flood insurance and received no ALE from my insurance company. The HOA has flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program, but the HOA has says they don’t yet have estimates on how much NFIP will cover. Apparently, the lower-level units are classified as a basement.

I’ve read through the HOA bylaws, and it’s clear that “common elements” projects, such as the drainage project, that damage units must be repaired by the HOA. But no repair has started. My place also tested positive for asbestos, and requires asbestos abatement before the drywall can be removed and replaced. It’s my understanding that insurance typically doesn’t cover asbestos abatement.

My question is what are my options here? To me, it seems reasonable to get approval from the HOA to schedule asbestos abatement in my unit, which will be paid for from the HOA reserves?

Thank you,

Jenna

1 Answers
Scott deLuise Scott deLuise Expert answered 4 days ago

This is a complex question with a few different ways to approach. If you have a dwelling limit on your unit owner’s policy, you should file a claim. Your carrier will assign an adjuster, who will estimate the cost to repair. If you don’t have enough coverage to pay for the repairs, you’ll need to proceed as per below. Your carrier will subrogate against the HOA to recover their costs. You will be reimbursed for your deductible and other costs in excess of your coverage, if any.

If you don’t have a dwelling limit, start below:

First thing is to get a written acknowledgement from the HOA that it is responsible for your damages.

Second is to arrange for a contractor or paid estimator of your choice, not the HOA’s, to give you a comprehensive cost to repair based on the abatement scope.

Third is to present your abatement and repair estimate to the HOA for payment.

If the HOA refuses to pay, you will need a lawyer to write a demand letter. One of the reasons this is complex is that the HOA liability policy must pay your cost to repair, and you’re an insured under the HOA policy as a unit owner. United Policyholders has a directory of consumer-oriented credentialed professionals, including attorneys, who support UP’s mission and have experience in insurance law. You can visit the Find Help directory to browse for one of these individuals, if you feel you’d like to seek additional advice.

Hope this helps!