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Subject: HOA Caused Massive Damage to my Unit
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RoseK2
(Missouri)

Posts:5


10/19/2018 6:15 AM  
I had a water leak in my unit. I notified the condo owner below me, my insurance agent, and HOA. It was from a class action suit problem on a pipe that only some units were notified of these pipes in their unit. The HOA wants to charge me $10,000 deductible even though acknowledging no fault. I had a plumber fix the problem and found and fixed four others in my unit. We had no damage. We stayed in our unit 3-4 more days then went to our other home. The water in our unit is always turned off when we leave. Because of illness we weren’t able to return for 7 weeks. When we walked in we found extensive damage to our unit, the security camera rewound to Jan and unplugged. Items were missing. I called the HOA immediately. They said they came in to see if there was a water leak or mold. I asked why the security camera was tampered with-received a shrug. I asked why wasn’t I notified? I asked who had been in my unit-they are the only ones with keys but always notified me for things like pest control. One of the neighbors said no fans or other remedial actions were taken. One room had all the walls taken out but had floors. My bathroom vanity only had doors. The toilet full of water was dragged into the tub. I have time stamped pictures taken an hour after original problem showing the failed part still attached to the toilet with a dry floor. The next day I have time stamped picture of toilet with new part. The failed part and one of the non-failed parts was on my counter-yes I have time stamped pictures. They were gone. I don’t know why I took so many pictures but now I am happy I followed my gut.

Here is the problem: The HOA attorney in a letter said they were the only ones in my unit and would pay for the Common Expense Damage. I think my insurance should pay me then ask the HOA to pay or sue them if not. I turned it into police for unlawful entry, vandalism, and theft. I turned in the lawyer’s letter to the police and insurance companies. The police told me to change the locks. The bylaws state emergency requires call to police, fire, ambulance. “Repair” states owner’s request, notification and if possible signed document. The HOA notified the HOA insurance not to talk to me—I needed to know if they paid any monies on the water damage claim which is still open because that is one of HOA’s excuses for entry even though they were there the same day. American Family is the HOA insurance. They said their client is only the Board and have to respect their privacy. I told them that I own the unit, I pay fees to help cover insurance, and as a member of the HOA their customer. My state senator, MO Dept of Insurance have both been very helpful. I have turned over what items I can to them. The Board also refuses to notify all owners of the pipe problem. I have asked in writing three times. So back to my question: should my insurance cover the claim and go after the HOA board for the money? Right now I don’t trust that I will be treated fairly. Also by their demonstration of lack of communication-most of the time no replies. I don’t expect fairness—why all the secrecy? They have never levied the deductible to anyone else-why me? Is it fair for the HOA to use some of my fees to pay for a lawyer to work against me? I need some answers but also I am so frustrated that I might not see the big picture. Help please.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:8419


10/19/2018 8:21 AM  
Rose

Typically a unit owner will file a claim with their insurance company then their insurance company will go after (subrogate) the association's insurance company.

Let them duke it out.
RoseK2
(Missouri)

Posts:5


10/19/2018 8:26 AM  
Thank you. That is my preference to let the two duke it out. I didn’t want to have unreasonable expectations.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:295


10/19/2018 8:45 AM  
I would advise the OP to hire an attorney or at least talk to their own insurance agent to find out what their rights and responsibilities are. Most folks around here are not attorneys, can't give legal advice, and we're only hearing one side of the story. Taking photos was a good idea, but (and I realized this is after the fact) if you come home to evidence that others have been inside your unit, call the police - for all you know, the bad guys are still there.

General information:

* The HOA/COA usually has the right to enter a unit in an emergency (eg. water intrusion originating in an empty unit) to prevent damage to other units or common elements. If they don't have a key or emergency contact that can let them in, the owner risks having the police or fire department break in and do further damage. This is business as usual.

* The HOA's insurance agent will not talk to individual homeowners because the homeowner is not their client, the HOA is. Also business as usual.

* Likewise the HOA's attorney will not consult with individual homeowners because the homeowner is not their client, the HOA is.

* HOA/COA boards are required to act in the best interests of the association as a whole, not necessarily in the best interest of individual owners. If owners think there is a conflict, then they need someone who will act in their interest.
RoseK2
(Missouri)

Posts:5


10/19/2018 9:19 AM  
I did call the police. The leak happened 4 days at least prior. Their rep was there the day of the incident. Their bylaws state that they are to call police or fire if emergency. 4 days later isn’t an emergency. Bylaws also state for repairs that owner is notifief and signs off. The plumber was there fixing at my cost it while they were still on site. My unit has about $40,000 of damage. Also they told their insurance not to answer any question that I wasn’t their customer. There is a MO statute that says otherwise. Some of the owners have never given them a key-now I know why. They went through closets on an upper floor of my condo. To get up there the water would have been over 12 feet throughout my condo to touch the floor up there.
RoseK2
(Missouri)

Posts:5


10/19/2018 9:19 AM  
I did call the police. The leak happened 4 days at least prior. Their rep was there the day of the incident. Their bylaws state that they are to call police or fire if emergency. 4 days later isn’t an emergency. Bylaws also state for repairs that owner is notifief and signs off. The plumber was there fixing at my cost it while they were still on site. My unit has about $40,000 of damage. Also they told their insurance not to answer any question that I wasn’t their customer. There is a MO statute that says otherwise. Some of the owners have never given them a key-now I know why. They went through closets on an upper floor of my condo. To get up there the water would have been over 12 feet throughout my condo to touch the floor up there.
SteveM9
(Massachusetts)

Posts:3263


10/19/2018 7:03 PM  
Posted By JohnC46 on 10/19/2018 8:21 AM
Rose

Typically a unit owner will file a claim with their insurance company then their insurance company will go after (subrogate) the association's insurance company.

Let them duke it out.


Yep, call your insurance. Deal with them, not the HOA. Your causing a lot of drama that doesn't need to happen.
JenniferG11
(Texas)

Posts:548


10/19/2018 8:33 PM  
Posted By RoseK2 on 10/19/2018 9:19 AM
I did call the police. The leak happened 4 days at least prior. Their rep was there the day of the incident. Their bylaws state that they are to call police or fire if emergency. 4 days later isn’t an emergency. Bylaws also state for repairs that owner is notifief and signs off. The plumber was there fixing at my cost it while they were still on site. My unit has about $40,000 of damage. Also they told their insurance not to answer any question that I wasn’t their customer. There is a MO statute that says otherwise. Some of the owners have never given them a key-now I know why. They went through closets on an upper floor of my condo. To get up there the water would have been over 12 feet throughout my condo to touch the floor up there.




What statute is that? I would guess it says those are records of the association that the HOA must provide upon request, not putting any onus on the insurance company for the HOA to answer you directly.

Also here at least, although we are 'named insured' the HOA acts as our attorney in fact with the master policy. We can't do anything with them directly.

MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:8281


10/20/2018 5:50 AM  
So how did the entire HOA fit into your house??? This is an insurance claim to sort out between your insurance and the HOA's. You will probably have to claim it on yours first and then they go after the HOA's insurance. Now if you were trying to claim it on the HOA's insurance, a 10K deductible isn't unheard of. Our insurance was a 20K deductible. Of which was paid out of the HOA's budget not the individual's. However, if an individual wanted to claim, then they would pay the HOA's deductible.

I don't see the connection between the HOA entering the home and the suspected criminal activity. Who says someone did not break into your home outside of the HOA entrance? Your claiming "they" did this stuff. There's no proof it was them. Plus if they had a key, then it's not breaking and entering. It's just entering. Plus your plumber had people going in and out too. The criminal aspect would be a different claim/situation outside of the scope of the pipe replacement.

Former HOA President
SteveM9
(Massachusetts)

Posts:3263


10/20/2018 6:43 AM  
Well, its two separate issues.

1. Water leak, hoa had to address immediately to prevent damage to other units.
2. Someone broke into the unit and stole stuff. Could have been anyone, anytime, and unplugged camera.
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