Repairing the bathtub area – who pays?

B.D. writes:

Dear Paul: The caulking around the bathtub in my unit has deteriorated over time. Water has seeped in behind the tub and caused some water damage. Now, the wall surrounding the tub will have to be replaced. We have even noticed some black mould has formed in some areas. When I asked the property manager who was responsible for fixing this, I was told that I was because it was inside the unit, I am responsible. Is this correct?

Paul replies:

Dear B.D.: I am sorry to hear about your situation. The answer to your question may not be clear cut. The condo corporation is responsible to repair any damage to the standard unit. It should have insurance that would cover the repairs. Depending on the cost of the repairs and the insurance deductible, the corporation may not make an insurance claim and cover the costs through operating expenses. As in everything, the corporation may claim that you are responsible because you did not bring it to its attention on a timely basis and/or that the damage was caused due to your failure to repair and maintain your unit. The corporation may attempt to have you pay the entire amount up to the deductible. It may be in your best interest to consult legal counsel to determine your rights in this case.

The standard unit may be defined in your governing documents; it is the base unit that you moved into when you purchased the property. Usually,  it includes the walls, plumbing, electrical, kitchen cabinets, hot water tank, and flooring. The corporation is responsible to fix the damage to the standard unit. Any improvements you may have made to your unit (e.g. replaced carpeting with tile) will not be covered and entirely your responsibility. All the best!

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