Condominium living in South Florida is a popular and convenient choice that comes with pros and cons. One of the biggest problems we have to deal with involving condominiums is when a unit owner suffers water damage to their own condo unit due to a water leak or plumbing break from a neighboring condominium unit (usually from a unit above). This problem is made worse when one or both of the unit owners do not have property insurance. This is more common than you would expect, even when many South Florida condominium associations have a mandatory requirement that each unit owner carry insurance for their own unit. The condominium association itself must also carry property insurance for the common areas of the building.
In Florida, condominium associations and condominium owners are governed by Chapter 718, Florida Statutes. This chapter explains in detail which areas of the condominium building must be insured by the condominium association’s insurance policy and those areas that are the responsibility of the individual unit owner.
According to §718.111(11), a condominium unit owner is responsible for insuring the following areas:
- All personal property (within the unit or in limited common elements)
- Floor, wall, and ceiling coverings (tile, marble, wood floors, paint, etc.)
- Built-in cabinets and countertops (kitchen cabinets, bathroom vanities, etc.)
- Water heaters (one of the most common sources of water damage)
- Electrical fixtures
- Water filters
- Window treatments, (curtains, drapes, blinds, hardware, etc.)
Of course if you do not have your own insurance coverage and your unit suffers water damage, you will be responsible for repairing the damage in these areas. If the water damage was caused by someone else in a unit above you or next to you, you may be able to recover from that person directly or their insurance company if they have one. However, whether that person’s insurance will pay for the water damage to your unit will depend on the specific facts of the claim.
As a condominium unit owner in South Florida, you have to expect that your unit can be damaged not only by a neighboring unit or the condominium building itself (such as a roof leak or leak from a common plumbing line), but also from the forces of nature. The best way to protect yourself from the uncertainty of potential damage is by buying insurance for your condominium unit.
Should you find yourself in a situation where your condominium unit has been damaged either by a neighboring unit, the condominium building itself, or the forces of nature, contact Schatzman & Hovanyecz, P.A. to discuss the facts of your claim and how we can best help bring about a favorable resolution for you.