Who Pays for Water Damage in a Condo?

If there is water damage in a condo, who is responsible for it? This is a common question brought up by people who live in multi-family housing like condos and apartments. Because these structures typically have shared walls and other adjoining sections, it means water pipes can run along and in between different housing units.

Now, if there is a water leak, it can seem tricky knowing who is responsible for the damages. If water is leaking into your condo from an upstairs neighbor, are they responsible, or are you? This is a very good question and one that we hope to help clear up for you today.

If you are facing a water damage problem in your condo or apartment, the matter of who is responsible for the damage will usually go back to where the water is coming from. In other cases, it might depend on who caused the leak.

So, if a neighbor did something or had neglect that caused a leak or flooding in the condo units, that neighbor will be responsible for the water damage. If the leak or burst pipes happened in their unit, they will be responsible. But it if originated from your unit and the leak spread elsewhere, you will be responsible for the damage.

In matters of condos, you also need to know if you are part of a co-op. If your building is a co-op, it is handled differently than if it is a typical condo. In a condo, if there is no real proof that the leak was caused by someone or a tenant’s negligence, then everything in the unit is the responsibility of the owner. Everything outside the unit is considered a common element that the building owner or board of managers would be responsible for.

In a co-op, it gets a little trickier in sorting out who is responsible for what, but when in doubt, always refer to your contracts.  In general, the negligent party will be responsible for the damage.  

If you are renting your condo, then you should always check your lease terms to understand what is covered by your landlord and what is covered by tenants, and who should be responsible for these types of problems.