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powrus 11-17-2005 06:08 AM

Water Shut-Off
A family member finds herself in a condo situation where the water shut-off for her home is located in an adjacent residence. Now that the neighbor has moved away and access to the water shut-off is locked away in that vacated residence, she (the homeowner) has no control over turning off her water supply. This is a concern for her during vacations or weekends away. Last weekend, the water was mysteriously turned off and the homeowner was forced to turn to the Homeowner's Assn in order to call out the Water Dept. With urging, the Water Dept was able to access the locked residence. The Assn was less than accommodating with their attitude and resents the cost incurred by the Water Dept for the call-out.

This condo is part of a subdivision which is a re-worked military base, and the buildings are several decades old. The subdivision Homeowner's Assn is unwilling at this time to pay for the cost of extending a shut-off to the isolated home. They find the request to extend the shut-off capability unreasonable at this time.

Dealing with the Assn has resulted in a dead end and the Water Dept contends it has no power to mandate changes in this situation. The homeowner now considers taking her concerns outside the subdivision to either the Health Dept or to a City Council member.

Has anyone encountered a similar challenge? Any suggestions for an alternate solution would be appreciated. Thanks.

jproffer 11-17-2005 08:49 AM

Hey pipeguy..isn't it a code requirement that the water shut off be accesible at all times? I know it is for power and I would assume(hope) it is for gas, but what about water?

K2eoj 11-17-2005 09:12 AM

I have a friend with a condo in the same situation. In our area it is "existing-non-complying" as far as our plumbing code is concerned. The health dept has some reg about a dwelling having water but that could backfire on you. I think I would be looking at it as a civil issue and the damage being that you are being deprived use of the dwelling beyond your control, (or something like that). Sometimes a $100 leter from an attorney will get their attention. HS.

justdon 11-17-2005 09:19 AM

Sounds like a complicated situation. Never heard of such a thing but I dont get around much.
This is what I would do. Somewhere, someplace the water line has to enter your families condo. Cut the pipe, even using dry ice behind the cut if you cant get to the locked up shutoff. Install your own shutoff at the entry point to your building. This should suffice as to when they leave for weekends etc. cost would be minimal.
When a new owner or tenant is moved into the now vacant one with the shut off, serious negotiations should be had re: moving that shutoff. I would think it would be cheaper than liability if your pipe breaks just before or after the misplaced shutoff and floods somebody else's condo. The ramifications of THAT situation are mind boggling to say the least.
AND I sure would check with YOUR families insurance guy to see if such a thing would be covered or who's on the hook???
IF the condo association doesnt want to pay to permanently fix, you (your family)better . get a couple estimates from plumbers and go from there. Might be alot more or less than you are thinking it might.
What happens if their heat fails in that unit (when vacant), pipe freezes and floods, who pays that one??? Or just rely on your own shutoff and leave other alone and hope,hope HOPE!!!

powrus 11-17-2005 11:06 AM

Thanks ...
for your replies. Yes, it is an uncommon situation. What you and I could accomplish with correcting this water-flow issue as compared to what this girl can do on her own is something else. Your suggestions are all good and they will be forwarded to her. Can't ever get too much input.

nicholasnettles 11-17-2005 11:18 AM

To the best of my knowledge, this would be a code violation and placing your household in danger:eek: . I know that different areas have different codes, however, so maybe it is grandfathered through and there is little you can do about it. At the very least, I would put a shutoff in-line and inside your condo, THEN contact a plumber about removing/locking open the shutoff in the other condo. As we can all see from the recent turn of events in New Orleans, no plumbing can be a rather messy issue. To boot, if you need plumbing repair done you need to be able to turn your water off. There are times when the stop valve isn't going to do it, and others when the stop valve needs to be replaced.

Anyway, to make a long story short, you do need control of your own shutoff.

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