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Subject: mold on the wall cause by leak inside the wall.
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Author Messages
JackY
(California)

Posts:7


05/26/2011 3:35 AM  
hello i have question. i recently bought a condo from trustee sale. when i went inside there was copper pipe leaking in the celing. therefore, it has water damage and black mold on the wall. i told hoa that i have contractor who can do the job. but, hoa insist hire their own license mold contractor to do it. i told hoa that i will not going to pay anything if they hire their own contractor to do the job. so, hoa still hire the contractor did the job. it took them so long to (30 days)finish the job. because, only one guy was working. my contractor said it is only 3 days job. then hoa send me a bill $11,065. hoa charge that on my account. so my question is: interior wall damage was cause by plumming leak inside the wall. is it hoa responsbility or it is mine?
please advise. my cell 626-542-8188.
thanks
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:4740


05/26/2011 4:25 AM  
NOT a good idea to post your personal contact information on a PUBLIC website...If this is a condo situation then the HOA could be responsible for the plumbing inside the walls. Thus they are responsible for the repairs. They can pay any contractor they want and any price they want.

The charge on your account may NOT mean you have to pay it. It may be a way for accounting to keep up with repair costs each unit had. You may want to check out if this is an accounting issue or your responsibility to pay. If it's a credit of some sort then it most likely is an accounting type of record keeping.

Former HOA President
JackY
(California)

Posts:7


05/26/2011 9:32 AM  
hoa board member refuse to take the amount off my account. what do i do to make them take it off. i have no money to fire attorney. please advise. also, i am chinese. my english is not that good. please help
JanetB2
(Colorado)

Posts:1962


05/26/2011 2:09 PM  
Hi Jack:

QUESTION: Did you receive a bill requesting payment for the $11,065?

As Melissa stated check to see if it is just being shown as a “repair cost” for the unit. If they have not sent you a bill for payment, then possibly it is just being noted as a repair completed for your unit and how much the repair cost the association.

The majority of your question would be answered in your governing documents, be sure to read them thoroughly. We cannot see what your documents state with regards to who is responsible for which areas. One option is you could post the exact wording from that section of your documents to maybe give us an idea as to potential responsibility.

The following is articles from Davis-Stirling and which in turn has links to statutes for your state:

http://www.davis-stirling.com/MainIndex/PlumbingMaintenance/tabid/1479/Default.aspx

http://www.davis-stirling.com/MainIndex/CondoMaintenance/tabid/1471/Default.aspx

http://www.davis-stirling.com/MainIndex/WaterDamageandInsurance/tabid/1476/Default.aspx

Also, when discussing issues with the board be sure to get everything in writing, preferably via “certified return receipt” on letters you send. Was anything put in writing before the work was done on the mold issue via letter, email, etc.?

JackY
(California)

Posts:7


05/27/2011 1:57 AM  
yes, hoa send me the bill for $11,065. i think it is way over charged. i had a 3 meeting with board members. they said i have to pay everything. they can not waive the charge. they told me wall is not common area. start from beginning i told the hoa manager i will not pay one penny with their job. i told them more than 10 times before they start the job. i did not have any paper work from them such inspection report, how many days work, agreement or contract. contractor has my lock box code number. they were in and out my condo without my permision. also, manager told me i have to stop remodle process. i have to be out of my condo until they finish the job. finally they finish 30 days later. there was only one guy doing the work. he did not show up work every day. the work they did should be done within 3 days. also, i estimated material they used was no more than $300. it was just few dry wall and can of mold premier. and one day i received a bill in my mail. when i open it. it was bill for $11,065. i am new owner in this complex. i think they just bully me. may be they think i am stupid chinese guy. at this point i don't know what to do any more. hoa keep charge me late fee and interest for the balance. can you give me some advise what to do. is there any place i can go report them. all the home owners told me. it is not my responsibilty for this work. plumbing inside the wall and wall is common area. please help! please give me advise. please tell me who can help me.
thanks
JanetB2
(Colorado)

Posts:1962


05/27/2011 2:15 AM  
Hi Jack:

You need to send a letter to the HOA and be sure to send "Certified Return Receipt". In the letter you need to state that you feel the work completed is the HOA responsibility and if the HOA feels it is your responsibility, then please provide proof from the governing documents which states that the water leak and subsequent repairs is the homeowner's responsibility.

Also, be sure to make a copy of the letter before mailing. By sending it "Certified Return Receipt" you will have proof that you sent the letter when you receive the receipt back showing they signed for the letter. Staple the returned receipt to your copy of the letter and keep in a file for possible future reference.

Maybe Rob will post later with other ideas as he is from CA and very knowledgeable on your state statutes. In the meantime this is at least an option.
JackY
(California)

Posts:7


05/27/2011 2:58 AM  
thank you so much for your quick rely. i don't think this will make them waive the charge. board member like to play power game. i need more idea. thanks
JanetB2
(Colorado)

Posts:1962


05/27/2011 3:10 AM  
Jack:

When they receive the certified letter they will know you are tracking communication between you and the board. It will potentially put the board on notice that you are now aware of certain potential rights. The most important item is you will have documentation regarding the fact you requested that they provide proof it is the homeowner's responsibility via the governing documents. If they cannot provide the appropriate proof then they potentially would need to remove the charge.
SteveM9
(Massachusetts)

Posts:2856


05/27/2011 8:27 AM  
I doubt you can solve this on your own. You need a lawyer.
JonD1
(New York)

Posts:1603


05/27/2011 1:30 PM  
Jack:

There are so many questions which remain unanswered about this situation.

How long have you owned the unit? Was the leak present when you looked at the unit to purchase? Were you aware of the leak?

The leak was in the ceiling you told us that what was the source of the leak?
What pipe was leaking? Is there a unit above yours?

In condos some plumbing can be the unit owners responsibility if it services just that one unit. Depends on how your documents are written.

If you had a leak in the ceiling why did you notify the HOA to make repairs?
If this was YOUR responsibility as they now suggest you should have been able to find your own contractor. Not use theirs and then pay an amount with no bills or paperwork provided. They could have required a licensed, insured mold specialist be used but you should have been able to find your own.

You explanation as to how this work was doen simply makes no sense. The contractor had the code to your lockbox so if you did not want them doing the work why did you not change the lock. How can someone enter your property for 30 days without your permission and why did you not stop it?

And your suggestion that for $300 in materials the bill is now $11,000 well something doesn't add up. Did you se the work done? Did you take pictures of the work being done in YOUR unit?

And while some companies can make mold removal quite an expensive project without any details as to how the leak was caused. The extent of the mold problem. Whether their was structural damage behind the sheetrock or ceiling material it would be impossible to determine whether the price was reasonable.

And I have one final concern where is the insurance coverage in this? Do you have insurance on the unit? Why did the board not put a claim in for coverage under the master policy? Someone's insruance maybe could have paid for some if not all of the repair.

The most important question to me is where was the leak and what was the source of the leak? What pipe failed? The you go from there.

Not ALL leaks are the HOA's responsibility. And on a personal note telling people what you will not be doing is NOT the way to establish a working realtionship with anyone you are trying to deal with. Years ago one of the owners here put in a window without first checking as to what was the conforming style of window on the property. I walked over and attmepted to discuss the matter with him. He got angry and starting running off at the mouth he would never remove the window. Well.......... After he found out the fines that would be coming his way and the fact he didn't have a leg to stand on. The window came out. Don't make ultimatums the day might come when you will be swallowing them.

And for me one basic math calculation. The board has billed you $11,000 now a lawyer will cost you a few dollars in the hopes fo saving you $11,000 sounds like a real good use of money to me. Find an atorney who specializes in HOA/condos and sit down with them. You can get quite a few hours for $11 thousand
dollars.

And finally don't assume you have an understanding of the documents under which your property operates if you have never read them or based on what some neighbors or wooden nickel lawyers might tell you. Many times they are WRONG and have no clue about what they are telling you.

Good luck..........



MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:4740


05/27/2011 3:01 PM  
JonD you missed some details the poster posted. He wasn't IN the unit during the repairs because the HOA/Condo association told them NOT to live there during the repairs. That alone tells me that the HOA was responsible for the cost of repairs. The owner/poster suggested his own contractor but the HOA insisted on their OWN contractor. If your responsible for getting work done on your house, what purpose would the HOA have to make them use theirs?

I agree, there may be some details left out here. Hopefully, they won't feel too criticized to post more details.

Former HOA President
JonD1
(New York)

Posts:1603


05/27/2011 3:42 PM  
I understand he was not living in the unit but as the unit owner I would stay on top of what was being done and what they found as the source of the leak.

If the leak was on the HOA they should have made a claim. If so the OP's housing costs may have been covered.

As to the contractor IMO with a mold issue the HOA should have the right to require a licensed, insured, mold specialist who could determine what type of mold existed and the efforts required to properly remove it. Black mold can cause serious health issues. But not all mold is of the dangerous variety. I don't want some uneducated clown doing what results in cosmetic repairs and a fresh coat of paint over grwoing active mold behind the walls. Better to make sure the job is done 100% right by someone who knows.

If it were black mold would I want some contractor simply tearing down the sheet rock and covering up the interior of the ceiling with new sheet rock? No.

Several mistakes were made IMO there would have been NO work before we had an undertstanding as to who was footing the bill.
And if that was not clear then you would never gain access to my property.

But if what the OP says is accurate to bill him without any explanation or break down of the billing well I would never pay that charge.

IMO the best option find a good lawyer. Get the facts of who was responsible. The details of what was done and go from there.

JackY
(California)

Posts:7


05/27/2011 11:24 PM  
i don't have the money to hire attorney. i think board member just want to bully me. i ask president in the board meeting. is the wall common area? he said. no, it is not common area. it is owner's responsibility. you know he is lie. all the home owners don't like all five board members. i heard from other owners said they always like to hire most expensive contractor. and make home owner to pay. owners suspect there is kick back to the board member and hoa manager. but, no one has guts to talk about it.
thanks
JackY
(California)

Posts:7


05/27/2011 11:24 PM  
i don't have the money to hire attorney. i think board member just want to bully me. i ask president in the board meeting. is the wall common area? he said. no, it is not common area. it is owner's responsibility. you know he is lie. all the home owners don't like all five board members. i heard from other owners said they always like to hire most expensive contractor. and make home owner to pay. owners suspect there is kick back to the board member and hoa manager. but, no one has guts to talk about it.
thanks
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:4740


05/28/2011 1:02 AM  
You haven't stop paying your regular dues because of this? That is a HUGE no-no. You may have an issue with them but NEVER EVER neglect to pay your dues on time. It will help you in the long run. Especially if you ever have to go to court. They can lien or foreclose on you for that. Which will just make things worse for you.

Do you have a break down on this 11,000? Is it ALL the repair or is it other charges? You mentioned something about them charging you late fees and interest. Given that you may not have paid them for a period time, I would have to assume part of this money is part of your dues owed. You also mentioned it was a "Trustee sale". I am not as familiar with this type of sale. However, there could be a condition which you could be responsible for the previous owner debt. We don't know this unless you have a break down of the actual bill they sent you.

There has to be more to this than what your posting. Plus they probably have taken offense to your attitude as well. Refusing to pay or compromise isn't the way to approach this situation. There has to be room to negotiate than complete refusal. Think about it if you were the HOA and had to deal with you...What would you want? What would prove your point?

Former HOA President
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