Emergency assessment imposed

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Emergency assessment imposed

In 2017 all owners had to pay an emergency assessment of approximately 18K each
for reroofing and plumbing repairs on our condos. It has come to our attention
that bids were not put out, but the co-owner of the property mgmt company was
given the bid for his plumbing company he partially owns. On top of that, many
of us have had additional damage done to our properties during the projects –
which they have stated is not their problem. Just trying to find out what type
of lawyer we should contact as a whole and if this is ever done on contingency,
or if we even have any rights.

Asked on November 24, 2018 under Real Estate Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

First, if the projects damaged your property, you are entitled to compensation (e.g. repair cost) for that from the company (e.g. the plumbing company) which caused the damage. Second, while there is nothing inherently wrong with the property management company's co-owner hiring his own company, if he overpaid or hired an unqualified company (i.e. they couldn't properly due the work), that could be one or another of fraud, negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, even possibly a form of theft. So you seem to be entitled to compensation for the damage and/or overpayment.
You want to hire a lawyer with condo experience, since they operate under some different rules or laws than other properties, such as one who has handled lawsuits vs. condominium associations and/or their management companies for fraud or damage. Such lawyers do sometimes work on contingency, but that does not guaranty that you'll find one who does, of course. However, even if you have to pay hourly, all the affected homeowners can jointly hire the lawyer, to spread the cost.

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