Here in Florida, there are many people that live in condominiums and a question that comes up repeatedly is what happens if you live on the 20th floor and wear and tear of the hot water heater (or any other appliance or fixture) creates a leak that causes damage to condo units below? Who is responsible for the repair?
The answer depends upon whether or not you can label the event as owner negligence. Under Florida Statutes, Section 718.111(11), while the owner must repair the damage to his or her own unit, when there is no negligence (i.e., the condo owner did not know or had no reason to know, that the hot water heater would leak) on the part of the owner, then the condo owners below will need to repair their own property or file a claim with their own insurance companies. However, if the leak is caused by the owner's negligence (i.e., the owner new that the hot water heater was faulty), then the owner is responsible for repairing all of the damage caused by the leak, including damage to units below.
If you have any questions regarding real estate law or the liability of condominium unit owners, please contact me, Santiago J. Padilla, Esq. at (305) 824-2400 or via email.