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Who to sue ? Board of Condo or Neighbor ? Or both ?

Brooklyn, NY |

I have a leak to my apartment coming from balcony of apartment above me. What is the best strategy for me ? Who I should sue in Small Claim Court to recover repair expenses ? My neighbor ? Board of Condominium ? Or both ?

Attorney Answers 4

  1. First, determine if the balcony is common area or part of the upstairs unit. That will tell you who is responsible. Next, rather than jump to a lawsuit and incur further expense to file one, ask for the name of and contact the responsible party's insurance company and make a claim. That's what the insurance is there for.

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  2. It depends on who caused it and who has the obligation to maintain it.

    I am a former federal and State prosecutor and now handle criminal defense and personal injury/civil rights cases. Feel free to check out my web site and contact me at (212) 577-9797 or via email at I was named to the Super Lawyers list as one of the top attorneys in New York for 2012. No more than 5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by Super Lawyers. The above answer is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.

  3. Dear Condo owner:

    Report the leak. The terrace likely is the responsibility of the owner of the upstairs unit. The condominium plan and declaration should disclose that information.

    You are adjacent property owners in the condominium. If your neighbor is damaging your property you must first stop the continuing injury and then claim the damages for the repair.

    You may notify your own insurance company of the damage and let the insurance sue the responsible parties.

    Good luck.

    The answer provided to you is in the nature of general information. The general proposition being that you should try to avoid a bad outcome if you can.

  4. It is unclear from what you've posed whether the problem is coming from an area maintained by the HOA or by the upstairs owner. The CC&Rs and condo plan will say who maintains the area in question. But before you sue anybody, have you asked your neighbor or the HOA to fix the problem and take care of your damages?

    I've been involved on HOA litigation before and it is generally expensive and often leads to years of bad blood. Try to resolve your problems outside of court. As another attorney observed, you might consider making an insurance claim and let them duke it out with responsible party.

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