By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities
Yesterday I told you about a huge KB Homes construction defect settlement in Florida. Today I pass along a report from News Channel 8 in Tampa, this one involving another home builder, DR Horton.
Once again, the problem is faulty stucco, but, in this case, damages affect an entire condo complex.
Tampa condo complex riddled with moldy walls; association blames builder
What is a condo owner’s Common Interest when it comes to construction defects?
In a condominium, each unit is owned individually. However, a condo unit is essentially a “box of air,” where you own from the drywall and floor coverings inward.
Exterior walls, hallways, staircases, elevators, are all part of the common interest of the association. That means each condo owner shares in the expenses and liabilities associated with the entire condo complex – everything from ordinary maintenance to major repairs. Your condo association should carry sufficient insurance to help cover unforseen events, but what if your association is under insured? You would likely have to pay a special assessment to make up the difference.
But, many insurance policies do not pay for damages that result from construction defects! That is the problem faced by owners in Schooner Cove condominiums. Repairs need to happen as soon as possible, but the association will have to wait month or years before any money is recovered from the builder or construction companies.
Keep in mind, that if there are 4 buildings in your condo complex, one with leaky stucco, the cost to repair that stucco and file legal suit against the developer will fall on all condo owners, even those not personally affected.
What about damages to individually owned units and personal property?
In addition to damages to the common elements, poorly applied stucco has allowed water intrusion that has caused damaged to the interior of many units. But each owner is financially responsible for clean up and repair of damages within his or her own unit.
Now, you can argue that, if it weren’t for the defects on the exterior, you wouldn’t have damages on the interior. But don’t count on the condo association to make repairs to your drywall, carpet, or hardwood floors.
The Association is likely to blame the builder for the defects. But the Association is also responsible for taking reasonable steps to prevent further damages.
So as a condo owner, you might find yourself in several legal disputes simultaneously, thanks to careless construction by a developer.
Definitely not the “carefree” lifestyle you expected.