Aventura, FL asked in Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for Florida

Q: I need help with a property management dispute in Miami. The management is claiming against me due to a water leak.

The management company of my condominium accuses me (my unit) of causing damage to the unit below and flooding the entire exterior hallway due to a leak that allegedly originated in my bathroom.

My unit wasn't flooded or in any way damaged. They inferred that my tenant ought to have left the faucet open for a long time, but this was refuted. During this time, the tenant was in the unit.

The Association hired a mitigation business, which cost $9200 for cleaning up after the event and generating a report, and without providing any evidence, blamed my tenant's "negligent" actions for it.

For the harm done to that unit, the unit below is now seeking $17,000 in compensation.

I don't have any insurance. The management didn't file a claim with their insurance because everything was rushed, and it seems easier to blame me, who lives abroad.

1 Lawyer Answer

A: If the leak was caused by a pipe serving just your unit, even if it did not damage your unit, you are liable. If the leak is caused by your A/C, water heater, dishwasher, drains, toilets, etc., you are liable for the damage. This is why it is important to have insurance -- that and in case of a fire that destroys your unit or even the building.

You will now need to figure out how you can prove your unit didn't cause the damage (hire a qualified home inspector) while the association and the unit owner claiming damages will need to prove you did cause the damage. This means this will likely end up in court with each party providing their evidence. You will have the added problem of the fact that you were not present when this happened and are relying on your tenant's word, which may not be sufficient depending on what the association and the other unit owner have as evidence.

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