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My condo unit suffered a 3rd roof leak - can I get compensated for having to deduct rent from tenant? And what are my rights?Jul 27, 2017

I own a condo in a building and back in March it suffered another water leak coming from the roof. This was the 3rd time in the past few years and each time the super and management office had tried to identify the cause and eventually said they think it was fixed.
But after this 3rd time and with a new building manager, it seems like they are finally going to retry and find the problem once and for all.
So initially I was pleased with the action and direction in that they are admitting that roof leaks are tricky and so really hard to determine the cause, and that this time they will try to find the problem and fix it once and for all.

I agreed to let them open up a hole in the master bathroom (it is a 2 BR 2 bath unit) in May so they can do water leak testing to find the cause and after a few attempts, it seems like they found what's is.
I am currently renting the unit out so had to confirm with current tenant that it was fine to have that hole in the bathroom. Tenant was understanding and also had been a tenant during the previous leaks and so wanted to also make sure the issue gets fixed correctly this time.

After they did find the cause, they said they would get engineer to look at it but since then it has been relatively radio silence. They eventually did tell me it would be a N steps process:
1. The engineer needs to produce construction documents to indicate to the contractor where exposure is needed.
2. After the Con Docs are done, the contractor will survey the site and produce a bid document.
3. The Board needs to approve the job.
4. Then the investigation can happen.

It has now been close to 2 months and during this time, I had sent an email to management office every other week to get an update (I realize it may take time but wanted to make sure it isn't stalled).
I finally got an email today saying they just completed step 1 (after well over 1.5 months)

There were 2 questions I asked in each email and they never address or responded to them:
1. If the process will be long, can they close out the opened hole in the bathroom ceiling to make it usable to the tenant. The tenant had to camp out on the living room since the master bathrrom has a big hole with water leaking and is humid makes the bedroom also a bit dank and smelly and she is not comfortable lsleeping there. As a result, I had to offer her a rent reduction for June and July rent .
My thinking is if the process is going to take another 3 or more months (and it is now 2 months into it with August coming up), they should try to just close out the hole and make the unit livable again. They don't need to do a complete fixing right now (i.e. Repave and repaint walls/ceiling from the leaks in bathroom and bedroom and replace the tiles that are broken due to water leaking and wearing them out) since they have not fixed the problem yet and so leaking could still happen.

2. Can the building manager please provide me with the board of manager contact info so I can reach out to them as well to try and escalate. Partly I wanted to emphasize the severity of this situation, how it is causing me financially as well as just stress of not knowing if the next major rain storm would cause more leaks.

I had also asked them to send someone in to inspect bathroom for mold but have not gotten any response on when they would do so.

So my question is if it makes sense to hire a lawyer to escalate and what rights do I have right now. Can I withhold common charges until they fix the roof leak? Can I get reimbursed for having to subsidize tenant rent to keep them? And also it is the building responsibility for making sure the bathroom and bedroom that had suffered leaks are properly repaired, yes?
Or am I at risk of losing some rights if I don't take any action now or especially I ask them to just fix the bathroom hole first to make it temporarily livable - then if they do that, they don.'the need to do the proper and more comprehensive repair needed when they have fixed the roof leak?

In earlier emails with the building super, he made it sound like the building is not responsible for anything inside my unit and so I would need to fix the wall and floor tiles and other items.

And in later email, the building management would use language like they are working to help fix my issue. The issue should be the building since it is all due to the roof leaking into my unit, right?

Join the Conversation Comments (2)
Condo roof leak - Steven424 Jul 28, 2017

I am not familiar with the ins-and-outs of condo ownership, and I am definitely not a lawyer. You are asking a lot of very appropriate questions, and I suspect the answers are contained in your condo's governing documents and the condo rules and regulations in the jurisdiction in which your condo is located (NYC?).

My suggestion to you is that you talk to an attorney with experience in condominium law and governance about your situation. The extensive description you provided here should be a good starting point for an attorney to review your matter and offer opinions.

I know it shouldn't have to cost you anything (attorney's fees, etc) to get this resolved, but from the way you describe it, either your condo association is stonewalling you, or they know the rules are on their side and feel they don't owe you anything beyond what they are doing. Either way, you need an expert who can help you navigate this complex situation.

Good luck!

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> Join the conversation Comments (1)
Condo roof leak - peoples choice #1 Jul 29, 2017

First contact the board tell them you need for this to be resolve ASAP see what they say put it in writing, Second call your homeowners insurance co. Explain to them exactly what happened and see if you can have them look at the problem and if your insurance policy covers it. They will have contractors to do the work and the insurance company will go to the condo to collect the money. With this leak you may also have mold, explain this to your insurance co. and the board. Take pictures of everything in case you have to consult a lawyer. Good Luck

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Thank you! - Roof leak for the 3rd time - need advice on my rights and what is best course of action Jul 31, 2017

Thank you Steven!

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Roof Leak Questions - Steven424 Aug 02, 2017

You're welcome. :-)

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