New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

Habitat Magazine Insider Guide



Board Talk: A Conversation About Leaks

A Conversation about Leaks

HELP: The neighbor above has a slow leak [he] believes to be a toilet-bend leak [and it is] damaging my ceiling. He is in the process of divorce and an apartment sale and refuses to get [the] leak fixed. The co-op wants to just plaster up my ceiling and let me paint before the leak is fixed. Does this make sense? The [neighbor] says he will not use the toilet. Meantime, my insurance has paid for some work but the co-op is trying to do the plaster anyhow and the super does sub-par work.

NYC Resident Manager: This does not make sense – do not allow this to happen. They should fix the problem after it has been corrected, have your ceiling opened up so it could dry out so there is no chance of any mold to grow. E-mail me if you would like to talk some more.

Another Resident Manager: In the co-op that I manage I have never been restricted from carrying out repairs. However, for what it is worth, here is my two cents on what I would do. Two choices here. If you want to be nice or not...

Document everything, take photographs and get a letter from the co-op and shareholder assuring you that the repairs will be carried out when your upstairs neighbor takes care of his issues. Taking care of it means that the ceiling damage once repaired will not be noticeable.

After that write the co-op/shareholder saying you want the issue resolved right away. Send the same documents as above. If they drag their feet, threaten legal action.

Escape From Yonkers If the leak is in the area between the apartments, it would be the co-op’s responsibility to repair it. In many cases, the leak is in the primary plumbing, meaning the connecting pipes. The issue is: is it the co-op’s responsibility or the shareowner’s and where exactly is it leaking from?

Another Resident Manager: Find it funny that you should ask where is the leak coming from (how do I know?) Also, [you believe that] outside leaks are easy to find? Let me break it down simply for you. In most co-ops I know of, outside the wall = shareholder, inside = co-op. You need to follow up if you want it fixed. Only then can you address liability. A good super/plumbing company should be able to find out very quickly. Document, take photos, call management.


Board Talk is an online discussion forum where board members can post questions to which other board members can respond. Topics range from mouse-proofing to legal retainers – really, anything, and all things, that boards encounter on a daily basis. Some of the responses have been edited for clarity. Want to participate? Go to:

Subscriber Login

Ask the Experts

learn more

Learn all the basics of NYC co-op and condo management, with straight talk from heavy hitters in the field of co-op or condo apartments

Professionals in some of the key fields of co-op and condo board governance and building management answer common questions in their areas of expertise

Source Guide

see the guide

Looking for a vendor?