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Subject: Construction workers cut water pipes of homeowner
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Author Messages
SilviaB1
(California)

Posts:6


08/07/2019 4:56 PM  
I am an absentee homeowner living abroad much of the year with a property manager living locally. The HOA agent hired a roofing company and scheduled roof work. There is no proof showing we were notified before the work began, which is not required by law, but I was not aware of their actions that caused a water pipe to bust. The day before the demolition began, the HOA agent sent me an email offering to remove my solar water heating panels from the roof, which are personal property. At a board meeting I had mentioned concern for the panels. The removal was scheduled for the day following the email. I was traveling so did not get the email. Communication was not sent to my property manager. The workers cut my water pipe connecting the solar panels to my home without my consent. The line was not isolated so it was affected by the entire system. The plumbing situation was not checked beforehand. They also turned off the water main to my unit without notifying the tenant, who returned to the house and , unaware of the situation, turned on the water main. As a result there were two points that busted in the pipe causing $6,000 of water damage. Since this seems to be a situation of trespassing, are the workers liable for damages?
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:8396


08/07/2019 5:58 PM  
The HOA would have to make claim with the contractor. I would contact your insurance company as well. It may be that they will go contact the other insurance companies that should be involved. I wouldn't do things on your own without contacting insurance.

Former HOA President
RichardP13
(California)

Posts:3764


08/07/2019 7:01 PM  
Where were the water pipes? Did the HOA have the solar panels installed? IF the panel are on common area, roofs, how is that trespassing. As a manager, I might not have the owner's property manager's contact information and my responsibility is with the owner, not the tenant or the owner's PM.

Been there, Done that
SteveM9
(Massachusetts)

Posts:3296


08/08/2019 7:26 AM  
you contact your insurance company and let them figure it out. obviously lots went wrong but it doesnt matter. a claim will be made on your address in the computer if the hoa, contractor or you make a claim. it all shows up in the same database that all insurance companies share
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:8550


08/08/2019 9:14 AM  
Silvia

I am assuming the damage was to your unit. If so, you begin by filing a claim with your insurance company. They will sort it all out.
SilviaB1
(California)

Posts:6


08/08/2019 2:14 PM  
t
SilviaB1
(California)

Posts:6


08/08/2019 2:28 PM  
Thanks for the replies. The pipes were on the roof but were connected to and part of the unit's plumbing system (not isolated). So, private property? The panels were about 20 yrs old and no longer working for all units. The situation wasn't an emergency they just wanted to continue work, didn't contact owner. Workers made assumptions the water line was not live and said this was info from HOA rep. About insurance, it happened during a change in companies so a lapse . HOA agent hired the roofing company and told them to go ahead. Is this a possible liability for HOA (and roofer)? Did the roofer trespass?
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:3123


08/08/2019 2:44 PM  
A lapse in insurance coverage was allowed to occur? Whose fault is that? That alone might constitute negligence and certainly warrants the opinion of a licenesed attorney on the matter. You were in a position where there was no insurance company to file a claim with for property damage? I think you've got bigger problems than trying to hang a trespassing charge on somebody. Also, what do the governing documents say about electronic notice? Can any responsibility here be laid at your feet because you failed to timely review your email?
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:8550


08/08/2019 4:40 PM  
Silvia

Please answer the following questions:

1. Was the damage to your unit?
2. Did you have insurance on your unit at the time?

Please, no reasons why, just yes or no answers.

Thanks
RichardP13
(California)

Posts:3764


08/08/2019 6:36 PM  
Posted By GenoS on 08/08/2019 2:44 PM
A lapse in insurance coverage was allowed to occur? Whose fault is that? That alone might constitute negligence and certainly warrants the opinion of a licenesed attorney on the matter. You were in a position where there was no insurance company to file a claim with for property damage? I think you've got bigger problems than trying to hang a trespassing charge on somebody. Also, what do the governing documents say about electronic notice? Can any responsibility here be laid at your feet because you failed to timely review your email?



Unless I am reading this wrong, the lapse in insurance coverage was on the HOA, not the owner.

Been there, Done that
SteveM9
(Massachusetts)

Posts:3296


08/08/2019 8:18 PM  
It could get complicated......

The HOA could easily ask for reimbursement for:
- Costs for damage to any common area resulting from installation/maintenance/repair/removal/replacement of solar installation
- Costs for maintenance/repair/replacement of solar installation
- Restoration of all common areas and separate interests if the solar system is removed

So while you could go after them for damaging your piping, they could persue money from you too. The renter turning the water back on is damage caused by the renter. Yet another person involved.

No insurance? Your on your own. Time to call a lawyer.
SilviaB1
(California)

Posts:6


08/09/2019 3:09 AM  
Your responses are appreciated.
JohnC46 1- Yes 2-yes
SteveM9 - the owner did not know about, or are give permission to remove the panels.
Would your points still apply?
RichardP13- I'm a committee member so may have worded it confusing, but it was my
insurance. I didn't use them because we had had a conversation just that week that I was changing so
I didn't call on them for this. It required a very quick response so I paid on my own.
I'm trying to get other points of view here to decide whether to pursue or not.
I really appreciate the replies with some good points for me to think over.
SilviaB1
(California)

Posts:6


08/09/2019 3:14 AM  
SteveM9-- the tenant wasn't told the water was being turned off. He wasn't home and roofing company admitted no written notice was left. The workers said in an email they turned on the main. They also suggested the tenant turned on the water.
SteveM9
(Massachusetts)

Posts:3296


08/09/2019 5:42 AM  
Posted By SilviaB1 on 08/09/2019 3:14 AM
SteveM9-- the tenant wasn't told the water was being turned off. He wasn't home and roofing company admitted no written notice was left. The workers said in an email they turned on the main. They also suggested the tenant turned on the water.




Doesn't really matter in the end if notice was given water was being turned off. The damage was caused by turning it back on.

Still confusing if the tenant turned on a valve that was shut off by someone else. Your not being clear.
SteveM9
(Massachusetts)

Posts:3296


08/09/2019 5:46 AM  

SteveM9 - the owner did not know about, or are give permission to remove the panels.
Would your points still apply?


I really dont know. California, the state you are in has specific laws regarding condos and solar panels.


RichardP13- I'm a committee member so may have worded it confusing, but it was my
insurance. I didn't use them because we had had a conversation just that week that I was changing so
I didn't call on them for this. It required a very quick response so I paid on my own.
I'm trying to get other points of view here to decide whether to pursue or not.
I really appreciate the replies with some good points for me to think over.


Thats doesnt sound like a lapse in insurance. You were covered by XX company the day the damage happened. Doesnt matter that you are with company XX now.

SilviaB1
(California)

Posts:6


08/09/2019 8:14 AM  
Thank you everyone for taking the time. points of view here have been helpful.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:8550


08/09/2019 2:53 PM  
The bottom line is Sylvia did not understand the process of filing a claim with her insurance company. She went ahead and paid for the repair so the question is how can she get reimbursed?
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:3123


08/09/2019 8:54 PM  
Posted By RichardP13 on 08/08/2019 6:36 PM
Unless I am reading this wrong, the lapse in insurance coverage was on the HOA, not the owner.

Yes, that's how I read it, too. Where I am the HOA is required to maintain various types of policies. If any were allowed to lapse then we'd be in big trouble if something untoward happened while we weren't covered.
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