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Old 11-21-2011, 03:43 PM   #1
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Who should pay for toilet repair?


In the condominium up-stairs on the second floor, the toilet got damaged and there was a leak damaging the ceiling of the condo down below on the first floor. The owner up-stairs called me to check; and I saw the damage was between the toilet and the main Vent pipe. The actual toilet belongs to the owner of the condo. The argument is that the damage was far away from the toilet, therefore the association should pay for all damages including the ceiling down below. This is a grey area in condominium association and I have to make a decision. My thinking is that over and beyond the Vent pipe, then it becomes association problem because at that point the drainage pipes are in common with everybody. Now, Who do you think shold pay? The association? Or the owner of the condo? Thanks.

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Old 11-21-2011, 03:48 PM   #2
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Who should pay for toilet repair?


Be more specific. Did the drain pipe break? Or was it the commode?

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Old 11-21-2011, 04:23 PM   #3
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Who should pay for toilet repair?


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The owner up-stairs called me to check...............This is a grey area in condominium association and I have to make a decision
What is your role here? Are you a contractor? Consultant? Lawyer ( I know, not very likely)?

Why is the decision making process falling onto you?

It should actually be pretty clear. And it should state in the bylaws. A failure of the WC should fall on the HO ( or their insurance carrier). Any piping failure should fall the Association ( or their insurance). The wax ring could be a push. But somebody needs to reed the bylaws
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Old 11-22-2011, 03:22 PM   #4
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Who should pay for toilet repair?


@ Broox; and @ Anti-wingnut; I am the overseer of the building and member of the board. The problem is: some fixing has to be done but nobody wants to pay. My position is to see exactily where the problem is and make a decision. If the problem was the toilet per se or the wax ring, then the onwner had to pay. But since the problem is far away from the toilet and very close to the Vent pipe, then who is at fault? The By-Laws do not say specifically what. If the problem was beyond the Vent pipe, then the Association had to pay because it was common property; but this is between the toilet and the Vent pipe. My opinion is the owner of the Unit has to pay, but she does not want to. I am sure in your experience, you have come across such decision. How did you solve the problem? Thanks
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Old 11-22-2011, 04:24 PM   #5
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Who should pay for toilet repair?


Who owns and is responsible for the drainage system inside the walls and floor? Seems like the association should pick up the tab on this one. The tenant's toilet had no bearing on this leak.
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Old 11-22-2011, 04:45 PM   #6
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Who should pay for toilet repair?


In the commercial property management world that would be considered a tenant expense - the broken pipe, toilet, wax ring etc are only used by that one unit. Only until it ties into a line shared by others would it be a common area expense. Unless, of course, the language in the bylaws state otherwise, or if work in another space caused it, a shift in the vent pipe, or something like that.

Obviously the owner would rather share the expense with all other units - and probably can if a majority agrees and sets that precedence. But this is something her insurance should cover unless it was due to negligence on her part.

If you're still undecided after rereading all articles, consult with an attorney, preferably the one that drew up the original documents. There will be plenty more issues like this in the future and you need to put it to bed now.
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Old 11-22-2011, 06:46 PM   #7
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In the commercial property management world that would be considered a tenant expense - the broken pipe, toilet, wax ring etc are only used by that one unit. Only until it ties into a line shared by others would it be a common area expense
You are talking apples and Peugeots here. What is common in commercial property management in your area (which by the way is different than is common in the NW) has no bearing on a condo covered by legal bylaws registered with the state.

I have read several condo association bylaws, and in everyone I am familiar with, the association owns all the piping inside the walls and to the point where a homeowner would make a connection. What that means is upstream of the toilet flange, down stream of supply cocks and upstream of the compression fitting for sink drains. When changes are done by licensed contractors, inspected by the proper AHJ's, and the work is endorsed by the HOA ( if applicable) then the HOA becomes responsible for those systems, even if the work occurred much later than original construction. By the sounds of it, the condo association is clearly on the hook for this repair. Further:

1) Gabriel was very disingenuous with us originally. He should have informed us in his first post that he was not a third party, but a party with a vested interest in opposition to the HO

2) I will say that I find it unbelievable that you cannot find an explanation of Association responsibility in regards to in situ pipe systems in your building. I suggest that you re-read, then re-read again, the bylaws until you find it.
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Old 11-23-2011, 07:17 AM   #8
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Who should pay for toilet repair?


Interesting. I was clear that I was speaking about commercial property - I have dealt with hundreds in the SE. As none of us can (or should) interpret legal documents we have not seen our advice was basically the same; search the bylaws and if he can not find the answer then he should find someone that can. This would not be something that was left to be dealt with at the first occurrence.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.
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Old 11-23-2011, 08:46 AM   #9
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Who should pay for toilet repair?


Maybe you can get obama to pay for it.

Seriously, to me I think the association is responsible.
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Old 11-23-2011, 08:55 AM   #10
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Who should pay for toilet repair?


There seems to be general agreement that a knowledgeable individual is going to have to read the bylaws. Possibly an attorney, possibly a building specialist. You are also going to need a report specifying the cause of the problem. This can be done by a forensic engineer, a plumber, or perhaps a building specialist. Might even be done by you if you have the necessary skill set to diagnose the cause of the problem. Once you have the report, you follow the procedures in your bylaws for assigning the cost to the appropriate party.
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Old 11-23-2011, 09:11 AM   #11
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Who should pay for toilet repair?


Well while you're reading laws and doing intense research just what is being done to ensure the leak doesn't continue? Is the water shut off and at least the toilet leak arrested?

I would say to pool your resources - both of you put in something and get it done. Septic and sewage issues should NOT be left to fester - the longer you doddle the more chances you have of the problem getting worse, mold to grow - and so forth.

To assess extent of repair: remove toilet - examine. . . open up damaged ceiling/wall - examine . . .try to locate source of leak by following the trail of filthy water residue.

Examine the toilet for cracks and breaks - if there is none - and it looks like the water is coming FROM your flange - replace and ensure proper seating. Check for leaks. . . if none are found after a short while - seal it up and repair the drywall ceiling/walls in the rooms below - alone/together . . . whoever.

Take control and take charge and get it over with before you regret it more than you already do.

Materials to do the fix are affordable: drywall is sold in small 2x2 patch-sheets, mud comes in small quantities, they sell popcorn ceiling texture in a can if you need it, plastic scrapers for the mud-work, flanges are cheap and so on.

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