Monday, November 3, 2008
Help Me Howard: Leaky condo
If you live in a condo you might be able to relate. You have a problem that your association is required to fix and they refuse, but don't give up. You have a solution, and Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser has it.
WSVN -- From the outside the Cricket Clubhouse looks nice, and if you go inside, Lewis De La Fuente's place, its kind of unique as well.
Lewis De La Fuente: "I wake up one night, and there's water falling on my face. I had to make this contraption, which makes the water fall into this bucket."
The water has been pouring in over Lewis' bed, his hallway, and his living room for almost three years.
Lewis De La Fuente: "I can't sit down on my sofa and watch TV because it leaks. I can't go to bed because water falls on my face. I can't walk to the bathroom because you'll get wet on the way."
The water has ruined his sofa, his ceiling, his walls and grown enough mold to keep a lab busy for a month. Actually, two kinds of very dangerous mold.
Lewis De La Fuente: "And up to now, I don't have any in my blood, but if that gets into me, it's a very, very bad situation. I could die."
Lewis was on the condo board and complained, but nothing happened. He quit in disgust and kept complaining. Nothing happened.
Lewis De La Fuente: "They keep on looking for excuses. No, it's this. No, it's that, but nobody does anything about it."
The association was convinced the water came in through these vents. It didn't. Now, they are blaming it on the balconies. Lewis says it's simple. It's the roof.
Lewis De La Fuente: "There is no pitch in this roof, so the water has no place to go, so the water gets underneath the tile."
Lewis would move, but like most people he can't afford it.
Lewis De La Fuente: "I pay, with mortgage and maintenance, $1600 a month to live here. How can I pay that and go live somewhere else?"
So after fighting for three years, he gave up and called Help Me Howard.
Howard: "By law, they have to fix the leak that is in the common area, and they have to repair any damage, like the mold that was caused by their failure to correct the problem in a timely manner, and waiting three years is ridiculous."
When I spoke to a board member in early October, he told me they were doing a dye test to determine where the leak was coming from. By early November, the test had not been done, and I was told to talk to their lawyer. Instead, Howard says it's time for Lewis to hire a lawyer.
Howard: "Just because they are your association, doesn't mean they are on your side. It's time for Lewis to sue the association to save his condo and his health, and whatever lawyer takes his case will get his legal fees paid by the association if he or she wins, which they probably will."
And if and when he wins, Lewis isn't asking for too much. Replace the furniture and repair his apartment, so he can get rid of these contraptions.
Lewis De La Fuente: "I'm pretty resourceful because anybody else would have just (throws hand up) forget it!"
Lewis is now looking for a lawyer to take on his case.
Patrick Fraser: "If you have a similar problem with your condo, make sure you send certified letters to the association to complain. Also, call the Health Department to see if it violates any codes. Finally, notify your insurance company to get them involved. The more the merrier."
Leaky, moldy mess left you soaking and sneezing? Don't get drenched in despair. Contact us. Hopefully, we'll have the prescription to dry you out.
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