Property & Casualty Insurance/alleged tub drain leak

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Question
QUESTION: Jay,
Two days ago the downstairs neighbor in our Florida condo building left us a note saying their was a leak from our shower causing damage to his unit (ceiling)for three days.  We stopped using our shower and asked him to let us know if the leaks continued.  He did not respond to my last email about whether water was still leaking.  We also got advice that our association should hire someone to figure out the origin of the leak and they have refused to do so.  There are no leaks from fixtures inside our unit, and if there is a leak from our shower, it is below the tub or behind the wall.  Am I correct that pipes behind the wall and under the tub are part of the common area and the responsibility of the association?  What are my options and responsibilities?  Thanks.

ANSWER: Ken,

You are correct...the pipes in the floors and walls are the responsibility of the association. The unit owner below you should be putting some heavy pressure on the association to find the leak. Most of the damage to their unit will most likely be to property the association will be responsible to repair...not to mention mold issues!

I would recommend that you consider getting the pan under the tub/shower checked to see if that is leaking. While it doesn't change anything related to the damage in the other unit, it could stop the leak if that is the source.

I hope that helps a little. Let me know if you have more questions.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks.  That is helpful.  Is the pan under the tub my responsibility?  Will the tub need to be removed to check it?  We're really trying to avoid tearing apart our bathroom until we know the source of the leak.

Answer
Believe it or not, even though Legislators wanted to create a black and white situation, there are still some gray  areas. This is one of those areas. The shower pan can be a "floor covering" so in my mind it's better to err on the side of caution.

I don't know what checking it entails. I would call a plumber and find out. Then you can decide if it's something you want to do.  

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Jay K. Williams, AAI, AIP, CIC, CRM

Expertise

I can answer questions relating to the following coverages: personal auto; homeowners; commercial auto; commercial liability; commercial property; business income and all other property and casualty coverages.

Experience

I have been in the insurance industry in Florida since 1979. I am currently the president of a Florida domestic insurance company subsidiary. I've taught continuing education classes in Florida and across the country. I am quite familiar with all coverages including Florida Condominium master policies and unit owner policies. I also specialize in agent professional liability. I have been a professional educator since 2001.

Organizations
I am a member of the Florida Associaion of Insurance Agents, the state affiliate of the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America.

Education/Credentials
I currently carry the following professional designations: Accredited Advisor in Insurance (AAI) Associate in Insurance Production (AIP) Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) Certified Risk Manager (CRM)

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