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Association or Homeowner Responsibility of Broken Pipe Under Slab?

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  • Association or Homeowner Responsibility of Broken Pipe Under Slab?

    Hi,

    I live on the ground unit condo where both my cold and hot water pipes run under my concrete slab to my bathrooms. Oddly, the pipes belonging to the unit above mine also run under my concrete slab. The water utilities are not individually metered and paid by the association. The cold water pipes are on a shared line where the main shut-off affects several units. The hot water pipes however extend only from my hot water heater to my bathrooms.

    I have had numerous broken pipe slab leaks under my unit from both my pipes and my upstairs neighbor. When I presented this to my Association, I was told the hot water pipes are my sole responsibility to repair and maintain.

    According to the Association, here are the excerpts from the CC&R's that state this:

    "...each Owner shall be responsible for maintaining those portions of any heating and cooling equipment and other utilities which are located within or which exclusively serve his Unit. Additionally, fixtures designed to serve a single residence shall be deemed to be a part of the Unit or such residence, even if located outside the boundaries of such Unit or residence."

    "Each Owner shall maintain, repair, replace, paint, paper, plaster, tile, finish and restore or cause to be so maintained, repaired, replaced and restored, at his sole expense, all portions of his Unit, as well as the windows, doors, light fixtures actuated from switches controlled from or separately metered to, such Owner's Unit, and the interior surfaces of the wall, ceiling, floors, and permanent fixtures."

    I have been told by an attorney that "heating and cooling equipment" in these terms pertain only to the mechanical and electrical units and not the hot water piping. Is this correct?

    Also, does "fixtures" in this case include pipes? And is there a distinction between hot and cold pipes and utilities? I also found the following in my CC&R's:

    "The Association is responsible for the costs of any and all utilities metered to more than on Unit and other commonly metered charges for the property."

    Does this mean the Association is responsible only for the water bill, or the maintenance and repair of water pipes... and does this include hot water pipes as well?

    Thank you.
    -BDM

  • #2
    Re: Association or Homeowner Responsibility of Broken Pipe Under Slab?

    Additionally, fixtures designed to serve a single residence shall be deemed to be a part of the Unit or such residence, even if located outside the boundaries of such Unit or residence."


    Doesn't that make the how water pipes your responsibility?

    There must be a clear past history of how the building handles these issues.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Association or Homeowner Responsibility of Broken Pipe Under Slab?

      Originally posted by Unregistered View Post
      Additionally, fixtures designed to serve a single residence shall be deemed to be a part of the Unit or such residence, even if located outside the boundaries of such Unit or residence."

      Doesn't that make the how water pipes your responsibility?

      There must be a clear past history of how the building handles these issues.
      Well, that's sort of my question and there is some ambiguity here since pipes/plumbing are not expressly identified. (There is no clear past history of these issues.) My neighbor's hot water pipes also run under my slab which requires me to tear up my floors every time they have a leak. Since the pipes exist in a limited common area, does the definition of "limited common elements" apply here which would supersede the Association's declarations? It states:

      ----------
      ...limited common elements is used to describe parts of property, the definition and the term is a condominium definition and term. Limited common elements are defined in the Condominium Property Act ("Act") at Section 2 (s). Section 2 (s) states: "Limited Common Elements" means a portion of the common elements so designated in the declaration as being reserved for the use of a certain unit or units to the exclusion of other units, including but not limited to balconies, terraces, patios and parking spaces or facilities."

      Section 2.1 of the Act states that the provisions of the Act are applicable to all condominiums in the state; and that any provisions of a condominium instrument that contains provisions inconsistent with the provisions of the Act are void as against public policy and ineffective. Consequently, the definition for limited common elements that is present in the statute is a controlling definition. It supercedes any definition in any condominium declaration that is inconsistent with its wording. Any provisions in a declaration that are inconsistent are void as against public policy. (Emphasis added.)

      Limited common elements are a specific defined type of common element. The Act at Section 2 (e) defines common elements. It states:

      "2 (e) "Common Elements" means all portions of the property except the units, including limited common elements unless otherwise specified."

      Because the limited common elements are also common elements, all of the general rights and obligations associated with common elements apply to limited common elements, except to the extent otherwise specifically provided or applied in the Act, and except to the extent specified in the declaration or other instruments.

      Section 4 of the Act identifies in outline form those things that should be in a declaration. At paragraph (g), it provides that the declaration should include:

      (g) A description of both the common and limited common elements, if any, indicating the manner of their assignment to a unit or units.

      Although that statement is specified in Section 4 of the Act, in many condominium declarations there is no detailing of the common elements or the limited common elements. Only the definitions are given.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Association or Homeowner Responsibility of Broken Pipe Under Slab?

        I am dealing with same from my HOA...does anyone have this issue and can clarify? The common element is water which is paid fro by HOA but the pipe leak under my unit under the concrete foundation slab they claim serves mine only (hot water from my water heater) but yet, I know one must turn off all water to building to find and fix leak! a friend of mine has numerous of these units and he said HOA always takes acre of them but of course mine is making an issue of it. I understand I maintain and replace my HW heater and related pipes, but once underground...they are part of a centrally metered utility beneath the foundation (outside of unit Boundaries). so if it was a cold water leak...whose responsibility is that?

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Association or Homeowner Responsibility of Broken Pipe Under Slab?

          Consult the terms of your HOA agreement.
          Due to a recent promotion, I should now be referred to as Major Obvious.

          I would not be trying to provide information and knowledge if I did not sympathize.

          Some days it is just not worth chewing through the restraints to face life.

          Comment

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