Home Insurance in Chicago>Question Details

Samir, Other/Just Looking in Chicago, IL

Responsibility for the liability, warranty, fixes for a water flood caused by a frozen pipe in a new condo?

Asked by Samir, Chicago, IL Mon May 4, 2009

Bit urgent so would appreciate any thoughts anyone may have. We moved into a new const. luxury condo in Lakeview last summer. Over the last 6 months, we've had various home issues. Today, the building mgmt turned the water pipes supplying water to the balcony areas on, these pipes are not accessible by us. Apparently, there was a freeze & crack in one of the pipes that goes down our living room wall. This has now caused a massive water flood in two BRs and LR, now destroying the carpet in the BRs and the hardwood in the LR. Besides this, it has caused damage to furniture, walls, rugs etc. The developer and mgmt co. keep tossing the responsibility ball to each other and dont claim fault. They want me to notify my homeowner insurance as well. Its a bit absurd that a new constr. condo is having this issue in year 1. Concerned that with the back and forth, its going to take forever to get things fixed and we're going to be in unlivable conditions. Any advice? Lawyer recs ? Thanks..

Help the community by answering this question:


Hello Samir and thanks for your question.

Let me see if I can help you.

If you live in a condominium, the only areas that you actually own are the interior air spaces bounded by the perimeter walls of your unit. As a result, anything past the paint on the walls belongs to the homeowners association. Although the leak began outside of your home, as the homeowner, you do have the responsibilty to contact the insurance company for the homeowners association about the leak. Do that tomorrow and file a claim.

If you were not already told this, you--as the homeowner--should also carry homeowners insurance in addition to the insurance carried by the homeowners association. This is important because, as you will soon find out, there are exclusions in the Association's policy that will prevent them from covering any losses to your furniture or personal items damaged by the water. The Association's insurance will take care of the water damage to the carpet, the walls, and other parts of the bedroom and living rooms, but the contents in those roooms that are personal contents are, in most cases, not covered. Further, there will be a deductible that must be paid--$5000 per occurrence seems to be the "going rate" for insurance policies these days--so expect that you may have to force the developer to pay for the deductible associated with your claim.

Finally regarding the issue of who should handle the repairs, if this is the first 12 months that you've owned the home, your developer/builder should have given to you a one year warranty on all parts of your home. This same warranty is extended by the developer to the homeowners association for all components of "common area" (the structure and pipes in the wall). The Association Manager will know whether or not this warranty is in place and can be used by the Association to cover the $5000 deductible and/or the cost of repairing the pipe. If the developer is at fault and there is coverage under a warranty, most likely, the insurance company will subrogate to the developer for all repairs (in other words, will ultimately make the developer pay for damages).

So, my advice, take lots of pictures. Document all damages. Call the insurance company and schedule a claims adjuster right away.

Good luck!!

Grace Morioka, SRES, e-Pro
Common Interest Development Expert
Area Pro Realty
Co-Author: "Homeowners Associations: A Guide to Leadership"
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon May 4, 2009
Dear Samir,

I agree fully and completely with Grace's answer. The only thing that I'd like to add is an emphasis on doing all of this right away. Contact your insurance company (even if you don't yet file a claim with them) regarding the situation and definitely contact the association's insurance company immediately. There are some legal remedies that you can accidentally "give up" simply based on the timeliness of your actions (or lack thereof). Good luck.

Christopher Thomas
Broker Associate, Sudler Sotheby’s International Realty
3934 N. Lincoln Ave. Chicago, IL 60613
773-418-0640 (mobile) 312-577-0985 (fax) 773-293-1200 (off)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 7, 2009
Search Advice
Ask our community a question
Email me when…

Learn more

Copyright © 2016 Trulia, Inc. All rights reserved.   |  
Have a question? Visit our Help Center to find the answer