If I live in a downstairs condo unit and a roof leak seeped in to my upstairs neighbor’s unit and then down into mine, who is liable for my damages?

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If I live in a downstairs condo unit and a roof leak seeped in to my upstairs neighbor’s unit and then down into mine, who is liable for my damages?

TThe hot water pipe in the ceiling/roof in the unit above me leaked into his unit and through the floor and into my unit. The HOA claims they are not responsible except for the leak in the roof. Is the owner of the upstairs unit responsible for paying my damages from water that leaked from his unit even though he was not the cause or origin of the leak? To clarify – the water came from his roof, onto his floor, through his floor, through my ceiling.

Asked on June 23, 2015 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

From what you write, your upstairs neighbor would not be liable, since he was not at fault for the leak. The HOA would be liable IF the leak was due to their negligence, such as their faulty or inadequate maintenance or failure to correct a known problem--even if the water came through your upstairs neighbor's unit, in this case, because the leak was caused by the HOA's negligence, they would be responsible for *all* consequences of it. However, if the HOA was not at fault (i.e. they did nothing wrong; the leak occured not due to any carelessness or negligence of them), then they would not be liable, and you could only look to your own insurance (if any) for compensation.


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