Submitted by admin on Fri, 08/15/2008 - 15:30
I own a condo with a concrete patio that is designated as a limited common element that I am responsible for maintaining. This past spring I noticed that the patio has sunk 3 inches near the house and it is hollow and uneven under the half nearest my home. Not much later, a big storm hit and I noticed a waterfall from my gutters and my two neighbor’s gutters. I got a repair estimate and was told that this damage was definitely due to the clogged gutters. He also said that this damage occurred over a period of time by hollowing out the dirt under the slab.
The Association is responsible for maintaining the gutters, and they claim to have cleaned the gutters twice a year. This was obviously not done because there is only one tree that contributes to the leaf blockage, and semi-annual cleanings would have been sufficient. My question is: Who is responsible for the damages to the patio? -- (Posted on the Chat Room by Ericov.)
(The following response was posted by attorney Lisa Sigman.) Typically, the source of damage determines who is responsible. For example, if your toilet were to leak and cause damage to a neighboring unit, you would be responsible; if the roof leaks (assuming it is considered a common area for which the association is responsible) and your unit is damaged, then the condo association is responsible. This is of course, a generalization and will vary based on the provisions of the condo docs. Based on your description, the latter scenario would seem to apply here. I suggest you refer to your condo docs for more information about who is responsible. For more information or to post a question, visit our MA Real Estate Law Discussion Forum.