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Last updated Jan 24, 2018

Who Is Responsible for Electrical and Plumbing Repairs in a Condominium?

If the pipes are leaking, toilet isn't flushing properly or your Condo Unit's Electricity shuts off, who do you call first? If you live in a rental property, naturally you'll call the management company first, and they can make arrangements for a local Plumber or Electrician to come in and fix your problem. But many homeowners of condominiums may not know who to call first, and leaving these repair issues unattended can lead to worsening issues with moisture, dampness, flooding etc.

Understand Your HAO's Master Deed and Bylaws

he most important document if you leave in a condominium, is the Master Deed and Bylaws which essentially sets the rights and obligations of the Condo unit owners and the Condo Association. To fully understand the rights and responsibilities for repairs in your condominium, you need to understand the General Common elements and Limited Common elements.

General Common Elements
These include Gas, Sewer, Water, Telecommunication and Electrical Systems from their Source to the entry point into your Condo unit. The entry points for these systems are located outside your unit and encompasses things like the electrical meter, gas meter etc.. These common elements also include Roofs, Flues, Foundations, Supporting Columns and the Condo Unit's outside walls, with the exception of windows and doors.

Limited Common Elements
These are for the exclusive use of the condo unit owner and generally include Deck, Porches, Balconies, Ac Unit, Windows and Doors, Driveway, Garage, Interior unit walls, ceilings, floors, sump pumps, exterior lighting on a porch, deck, garage etc.., Heating and Cooling systems such as furnaces, ducts, Central Ac units etc.., fireplaces, electric and gas systems from the meter outside the unit to all electric and gas systems inside the unit

With these definition in mind, coming back to the question of who is responsible for Plumbing and Electrical repairs in a condominium becomes easy to answer. Repairs, replacement and maintenance of all the systems within the General Common Elements would fall under the responsibility of the Condo Association, and all the Repairs, replacements and maintenance of Limited Common Elements fall under the responsibility of the Condo unit Owner, so for example, leaks under your kitchen sink, a clogged drain, a broken service panel etc.., would fall under the Limited Common Elements category and would be the responsibility of the unit owner.

What Should you do if you don't know whether you or your HOA is responsible for a Repair?

If you have an electrical or plumbing issue in your home but you are not sure if it falls under your responsibility as the unit owner or under the responsibility of the condominium association, you should contact your condo association management first, because some condominiums have preferred local Plumbers and Electricians who have some familiarity with the condominium rules and responsibilities, and can determine whether a particular service is under the responsibility of the unit owner or the HAO. You should keep your homeowner's association's contact information prominently displayed on the fridge or somewhere, for easy access in case of an emergency plumbing or electrical service need. One titbit of advice that always comes handy, is to know where your shutoff valves for your various plumbing fixtures and your power shutoff to your various electrical fixtures are located, so that in case of an electrical or plumbing emergency you can shutdown the problem area to minimize any damage prior to getting a local Plumber or Electrician to come and take a look at the issue. A common gray area that a condo unit owner might come across is when you have a leak coming from your ceiling? The reason for confusion in cases like this is that if the leak has to do with some issue on the roof like a missing shingle that creates a hold for rain to come through, or any type of issue on the roof that's causing the leak, then this becomes the responsibility of you HOA. If however, the leak is a result of some plumbing issue inside your attic or crawl space, then this repair becomes the responsibility of the homeowner because the issue is located within the condo unit and falls under the category of a limited common element. To reiterate, always call you Condo Association if you are not sure if a repair is your responsibility or the responsibility of your condo association.

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