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A Pipe Burst In My Florida Condominium, Who Is Responsible?

Pursuant to Florida Statute § 718.111(11)(f), your condominium association is likely responsible for a burst pipe and resulting water damage in your condo.

The following details articles within the above statute, and how you as a condominium owner can ensure minimal personal costs and hassle during a water loss event in Florida.

Buy Property Insurance to Cover Personal Items in the Event of a Water Loss

Every property insurance policy issued or renewed on or after January 1, 2009, for the purpose of protecting the condominium must provide primary coverage for:

1. All portions of the condominium property as originally installed or replacement of like kind and quality, in accordance with the original plans and specifications.

2. All alterations or additions made to the condominium property or association property pursuant to s. 718.113(2).

3. The coverage must exclude all personal property within the unit or limited common elements, and floor, wall, and ceiling coverings, electrical fixtures, appliances, water heaters, water filters, built-in cabinets and countertops, and window treatments, including curtains, drapes, blinds, hardware, and similar window treatment components, or replacements of any of the foregoing which are located within the boundaries of the unit and serve only such unit. Such property and any insurance thereupon is the responsibility of the unit owner.

In a nutshell, water pipes throughout your condo providing water to your residence are the responsibility of the condominium association to maintain. Your personal possessions – everything from the walls out – are your responsibility as the unit owner during the event of a water loss. If you aren’t already required to carry property or renter’s insurance, purchasing coverage in advance will save you a major headache and possible expenses (and don’t forget about flood insurance!).

Negligence & Carelessness

A unit owner is responsible for the costs of repair or replacement of any portion of the condominium property not paid by insurance proceeds if such damage is caused by intentional conduct, negligence, or failure to comply with the terms of the declaration or the rules of the association by a unit owner, the members of his or her family, unit occupants, tenants, guests, or invitees…

It’s important to note that even after an insurable event, costs that are not paid out by insurance companies to the condominium association are the responsibility of the unit owner in the event of carelessness or negligence. Leaving a faucet running or windows open during a storm are unfortunately common incidences of negligence that shift responsibility from condominium association to unit owner to cover the loss.

Report Visible Evidence of Water Damage or Leaks Immediately

The association is not obligated to pay for reconstruction or repairs of property losses as a common expense if the property losses were known or should have been known to a unit owner and were not reported to the association until after the insurance claim of the association for that property was settled or resolved with finality, or denied because it was untimely filed.

As a water damage restoration company serving Florida since 2006, nothing has been more of a headache for condominium owners than insurance companies ruling negligence in the event of a water loss. This is especially when the cause of the loss was outside of their control, such as deteriorated plumbing or faulty appliances. You simply cannot wait to report water leaks, no matter how small, to your condominium association.

Document Capital Improvements

The association is not obligated to pay for any reconstruction or repair expenses due to property loss to any improvements installed by a current or former owner of the unit or by the developer if the improvement benefits only the unit for which it was installed and is not part of the standard improvements installed by the developer on all units as part of original construction, whether or not such improvement is located within the unit.

If you have purchased a condo from a private seller, document capital improvements made to the unit since development that could cause water damage, such as new appliances or an installed pool. Ensure your insurance policy covers these items.

In conclusion, although the likelihood of a pipe bursting in your condo is small, when it rains (a water damage event), it pours (financial costs, property damage, insurance companies). United Restoration restores not only your property, but peace of mind. We work on your behalf to file and settle claims with your insurance provider. Understanding who is responsible to cover this loss, and the scenarios that can shift this responsibility, protects yourself and your family from additional grievances.

United Restoration

United Restoration is a leading Florida disaster restoration company––restoring properties damaged by water, mold, fire, and natural disaster. United Restoration specializes in providing commercial, government, and residential clients with services including water damage restoration, mold remediation, fire and smoke damage restoration, biohazard remediation, as well as trauma and crime scene cleanup.