By: Helsing Admin

A homeowner writes: My wife hit the side of our garage framing and caused some damage. Now my association has called me to a hearing for a “reimbursement assessment”. How can they do that? They maintain the building and not me!

Most association documents have provisions for the association to levy a “reimbursement” assessment for damages to the common area caused by others. This provision is provided so that if a homeowner or their family, guests, or tenants damage common property the rest of the membership does not need to pay for the repair. In fact, they should not. If an owner damages property there is no reason to have the assessments go up for all to cover those costs.

In some cases, these damages can be collected through a lien, and in other cases they may not. In either case if the documents allow for it, then the association will generally be able to collect it. An important caution here, sometimes the damages can be very, very expensive. For example, in a stacked condominium or high rise condominium, an overflowing toilet can cause damage to the common area and also to many other units. I have seen damage go well over $100,000. The biggest emotional event in this situation takes place when the homeowner did not have insurance. The association’s master policy is not going to step in and take care of these damages to the other units, and while it may repair the common area most likely they will also take action to get paid by the owner that caused the damages.

Insurance will be the topic of a future newsletter, but the short answer to your question is “Yes, the association will most likely be able to make you reimburse them for the damages your wife caused, they may or may not be able to lien your home if you don’t pay, and if you don’t have insurance to cover you in these instances you should definitely consider obtaining some – particularly if you don’t have money in the bank to run self-insured.”

Articles are for advertising and general information by The Helsing Group, Inc. They are not intended to provide legal advice, but rather reflect our opinions as Community Association managers and Consultants. Readers should not act on issues raised in our newsletters or websites without consulting legal counsel.

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The Helsing Group, Inc.

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