Thursday, February 22, 2007

Being a good condo neighbor

Last month during the extreme cold front that came through NE, the valve on my refrigerator broke and water went pouring into the downstairs unit of our condo. There are three units, two side by side townhouses and 1 basement unit. The basement unit's two bedrooms and living rooms were damaged.

We were gone during this time, and while the heat was set to 50, unfortunately the design our house is poor. The hvac is in the attic and must pump down three stories to heat the bottom floor through only 1 vent. This vent is in the living room/dining room combo and the pipe/valve in the kitchen is exposed to an outer wall, another huge flawed design. Anyway the insurnace did not find us liable, so it is not going on our personal insurance and according to the condo by-laws it is covered by the master condo policy.

So we will not have a claim against our personal insurance. That being said, there is $1k deductible, which the condo association must pay. The question is should DH and I offer to pay the entire deductible because it was our condo? Or should we just allow the association to pay? Second it is not our fault, our neighbors about 3 days later did not have running water in their kitchen (ours was working), because of the cold, and they leave their house at 70.

The main problem is the flawed design of the heating and the kitchen is poorly planned for cold weather.So I know we can pay the money. But we are also worried if we admit to guilt then if something else should happen it can come back to bite us later. And we're very conscientious about our liabilities. Should we just ante up and say it's our fault? Should we not admit guilt but say it was our condo? We're going to mull this over this weekend. The damage was pretty extensive around $60k to repair everything. The floors have to be redone, the basement unit HVAC replaced possible because water went down the floor vents, walls, closets, bed, our floor, wall, etc. So making a claim was necessary we couldn't foot this out of pocket.

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