While NYC suburbs have suffered the worst damage from heavy rainstorms this summer, co-ops and condos around the city are also springing leaks in the rooftops and facades that are supposed to keep water out.
So when it starts raining inside someone’s apartment, who pays--and what do they pay for?
Co-op and condo board responsibilities:
- Repairing the exterior of the building so that it doesn’t leak anymore
- “Restoring” the walls inside the affected apartment. That means cutting out and replacing any damaged sheetrock or plaster, and preventing and remediating mold. Though some buildings do anyway, they are not obligated to perform touch-up painting after the repairs are made.
- If a co-op or condo’s governing documents say so, the building may also be obligated to repair original flooring damaged by water.
Apartment owner responsibilities:
- Damage to floor, unless the building’s governing documents assign this responsibility to the board
- Repainting affected walls and ceilings
- Damage to any contents including rugs, furniture, etc.
- Most if not all of the above should be covered by the apartment owner’s home insurance policy. The building is not responsible for paying the deductible.
Heavy rains have also been flooding apartment building basements across the city, inflicting damage on stored belongings.
Co-op and condo buildings must remediate the source of the infiltration and return the basement to its formerly dry condition. But while damage to residents’ belongings is usually not the building’s responsibility, that isn’t always the case.
If the items are in storage units that are leased or licensed by the resident—rather than owned outright--then the lease or license agreement dictates who pays for the damage. Residents who own their storage spaces must look to their home insurance policies. Items left in unassigned areas of the basement are the responsibility of the shareholder or unit owner.
Scott S. Greenspun, Esq., is a partner at the law firm of Braverman & Associates, specializing in the representation of New York City co-op and condominium boards.