Tag Archives: maintenance

This Day in Virginia Condo Law: Kuehn v. Carlyle Towers Condominium Unit Owners Association (Alexandria Cir. Ct. 2011)

Kuehn v. Carlyle Towers Condominium Unit Owners Ass’n

On April 8,  2011, Judge Swersky sitting on the Alexandria Circuit Court, ruled in favor of Carlyle Towers Condominium Unit Owners Association in a claim related to water damage.

Continue reading This Day in Virginia Condo Law: Kuehn v. Carlyle Towers Condominium Unit Owners Association (Alexandria Cir. Ct. 2011)

Missouri – Busch Properties, Inc. v. National Union Fire Ins. (8th Cir., February 24, 2016)

Busch Properties, Inc. v. National Union Fire Ins., No. 14-3699 (8th Cir. 2016)

Busch Properties, Inc. filed suit against its insurer, NationalUnion Fire Insurance Company, after National Union denied coverage for Busch’s expenditures to remediate mold in the Kingsmill Resort condominium that Busch managed in Wiliamsburg, Virginia.

Through contractual arrangements (with all unit owners and the unit owners association), Busch paid for all required upkeep and maintenance of the condominium units.  After mold growth was found behind vinyl wallpaper, Busch began to remediate the mold growth.

Before Busch began mold remediation efforts, Busch obtained the written consent of individual unit owners, without admitting liability for the mold growth or a release of claims, to enter the Units and perform work which would likely have been the responsibility of individual unit owners under the condominium instruments.

National Union denied coverage because it concluded that Busch was not legally obligated to make the repairs.  The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals had to determine, under Missouri law, whether National Union could lawfully deny coverage under the policies that provide coverage if Busch “become[s] legally obligated to pay as damages for liability imposed upon the Insured by law,” “becomes legally obligated to pay by reason of liability imposed by law,” or incurs “liability assumed by the Insured under contract.”

The district court concluded that there was no coverage for the mold remediation payments and Busch appealed, arguing that National Union should pay the cost of mold removal.

The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s conclusion that Busch’s payments for mold remediation are not covered under its policy with National Union because its legal obligation to remediate the mold did not spring from “liability imposed by law,” but instead resulted from a voluntary, contractual obligation.

Even though decided under Missouri law, the Busch decision reminds us of the importance to carefully consider maintenance, repair and replacement responsibilities as set out in the recorded condominium instruments.  And, associations must weigh the benefits (economies of scale and uniformity) and potential burdens (loss of insurance coverage or potential challenge for ultra vires acts) before undertaking additional responsibilities that are normally borne by individual unit owners.

Because every set of recorded condominium instruments and every insurance policy are different, the application of law to each community association differs.  As always, contact an experienced attorney for advice and counsel.

Delaware – Owner wins in court battle with Dover condominium association

Owner wins in court battle with Dover condominium associationIt’s a classic story: Lightning sparks a fire in a condo building. During the cleanup, the condo association deduces a second story unit’s shower has been leaking so much it soaked and damaged the floor. So the condo association sends that unit’s owner a $154,000 repair bill he didn’t expect.

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California – Pipe leaking sewage hidden behind wall, renter says she can’t leave condo

HOA horror story: Pipe leaking sewage hidden behind wall, renter says she can’t leave condoA woman called Team 10 after a pipe maintained by her HOA leaked sewage and exploded behind her wall. Julia Bruglio showed Team 10 her bathroom door that is splattered in feces and said she just wants out of her San Diego condominium.

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New York – The $100,000 Cleaning Bill: A Condo Board’s Long Fight with a Hoarder

The $100,000 Cleaning Bill: A Condo Board’s Long Fight with a HoarderThe cleaning restored the apartment to a sanitary state, and the board ordered the couple to pay for the cleaning and a necessary extermination, as well as related legal costs going back nearly a year. In August 2009, with those fees and unpaid common charges totaling $20,000, the board filed a lien and in December commenced a foreclosure action.

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Florida – Property owner wins lengthy turf war

Property owner wins lengthy turf warA judge finally has resolved a deed-restriction dispute that spanned 11 years, involved dozens of court hearings, a weeklong jury trial, two appeals and a second trial, and cost tens – perhaps hundreds – of thousands of dollars. A lawn that long ago withered and died launched the ruckus in 2001 that survived more than a decade in Hillsborough County’s courts.

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