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Upstairs Tenant Will Not Fix Ceiling Leak

Kay Senay
 


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"I have been living in my condominium since 1987.  Every time the tenant in the unit above me takes a shower, I get a leak in the ceiling above my bath tub.  About a month ago, the tenant invited me to see that there are only vinyl floor tiles where ceramic wall tiles should be.  The business manager of our condominium set up a meeting between me, the owner of the upstairs unit, the tenant, and the business manager.  The business manager told the owner of the upstairs unit that he must fix the shower wall.  After a couple more leaks, I told the business manager and he said that management would fix the leak.  It still is not fixed.  What can I do to fix this problem?" 

Unfortunately, problems and conflicts in condominium associations are common.  Some condominiums run very smoothly with few problems.  Others seem to have some kind of conflict that revolves around fixing maintenance issues.  It seems like you have followed the correct chain of command.  You notified the tenant, the business manager, and the owner of the upstairs unit about your leak.

It might be helpful to contact your insurance company.  They may get involved with the insurance company of the owner of the upstairs unit.  Even though the upstairs resident is a tenant, it is up to the owner to fix the leak.  The two insurance agencies may be able to fight it out to determine the cost to fix the leak, who pays for it, and whose responsibility it is to fix it.

There are two main keys to solving conflicts in condominium associations before legal action is necessary.  Education is one and mediation is the other.  Parties in conflict will usually be willing to work towards resolution if they feel their side has been heard and understood.  If this is not accomplished through education, calm discussion in an environment that is not threatening, and the willingness of each party to make some concessions, mediation is an excellent tool.

Mediation is defined as impartial third-party-assisted negotiation.  It is a process in which a mediator guides the parties through a settlement of their own case.  Mediation can go a long way to fix maintenance issues.  It can also help fix damaged relationships among neighbors.

If owners or a condominium board is in need of conflict management or mediation, a helpful place to start is Creative Conflict Resolutions, Inc.in Florida.  This company is dedicated to conflict prevention and management education. Many other states have mediation experts available.  Just do a web search on condo mediation for your state.

If mediation does not fix your ceiling leak, another suggestion would be to hire your own attorney.  He or she should be able communicate with the attorney for the condominium, the condominium management company, and the unit owner.  Hopefully, this will result in the fix of your leak.

Unfortunately, problems and conflicts in condominium associations are common.  Some condominiums run very smoothly with few problems.  Others seem to have some kind of conflict that revolves around fixing maintenance issues.  It seems like you have followed the correct chain of command.  You notified the tenant, the business manager, and the owner of the upstairs unit about your leak.

Copright Kay Senay 2009

Kay Senay is the author of CONDO BUYING & OWNERSHIP MADE SIMPLE: TIPS TO SAVE TIME AND MONEY. This book is full of Kay's secrets for solving condominium problems. Visit her website at the link above for FREE TIP SHEETS, books, and more valuable articles.

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