What to do in case of water damage?

When water damage comes from the common or private portions, any syndicate of co-owners must take the appropriate urgent measures. It will be necessary to dry up the source of the damage, as much as possible, and then move on to the other most pressing steps.

The claim must be reported immediately to the insurance companies, namely those of the syndicate and the co-owners concerned. And once the claim adjuster have completed their work, it is important to hire a contractor to make the necessary repairs.


Locate the source

To significantly limit the consequences of water damage, the first reflex to have is to locate it and take the necessary measures to stop it, if possible. As a general rule, the leak can come from:

  • A pipe break: the solution is then to plug the leak or change the defective pipe;
  • Property that a co-owner has in his custody; for example, a leaking water heater;  
  • A defect in the sealing of the windows: it is then necessary to review the insulation of the windows or to replace them;
  • From the roof: it can be asphalt shingles torn off or damaged that will then have to be repaired or replaced;
  • An oversight: a tap left open can be the cause of water damage.

Common portion

When water damage comes from the common areas, the syndicate of co-owners must take the urgent and protective measures necessary for the preservation of the premises.If the amount of water is important, the electricity should be cut off immediately. No need to risk electrocution or a general short circuit. In addition, depending on the source of the problem, it will be necessary to bring in a plumber urgently to carry out the repairs and avoid a flood, and then move on to the other most urgent steps.

Private portion

If the water damage has occurred in your home, cut off the water supply as a priority and then notify your neighbors who live in the apartment below. You will also need to inform the condo manager or a member of the board of directors of the circumstances of the loss. However, if the water damage occurs in your neighbor's home, you must  notify him as soon as possible so that he can report the water damage to his insurer. In addition, if the water damage originates from the common portions, it is necessary to notify the syndicate and to present various elements such as photos to advance the file.

Claim report to the insurer

The claim must be reported immediately to the insurance companies, namely those of the syndicate and the co-owners concerned. It is also necessary to require the insurance company of the syndicate to carry out certain works in order to take the measures of drying of the walls, partitions, ceilings and materials that would be affected by the water damage. The objective is to evacuate the water and dry the affected areas as quickly as possible to avoid the appearance of mold. And once the adjusters have completed their work, it is important to hire a contractor to make the necessary repairs.

Emergency work: don't waste a second

In the presence of water damage, work to dry up the affected areas must be undertaken as soon as possible. This will prevent the appearance of mold. The first two days are crucial in such circumstances. The union should retain the services of companies in disaster cleaning. The syndicate's insurer could mandate them itself and then send them to the scene. That said, before authorizing any work, make sure you understand what the selected companies intend to do. Also take the time to find out about the required rates!

Insurance coverages

More often than not, many parties are involved in a loss, including the resident- co-owner, the tenant, the co-owner- lessor and the syndicate. In theory, there is an insurer for each party. Essentially, when a water damage loss occurs and causes damage to common or private portions, the syndicate’s insurer is the primary insurer taking charge of the damage. The syndicate must subscribe insurance to cover the common and private portions, to the exclusion of the improvements to the private portions. The insurer will then pay an indemnity equal to the amount of the damages, less the deductible. The amount of this deductible is supported by the self insurance fund or divided between the co-owners, in accordance with their fraction of the immoveable. We remind you that the co-owners must insure their own movable property, their civil liability, and the improvements to their private portion.

 WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW! In the aftermath of a large-scale disaster, directors should issue a press release explaining to the co-owners and occupants of the building what happened. This document should also explain what will happen next.

http://www.condolegal.com/images/Boutons_encadres/A_retenir.png WHAT TO KEEP IN MIND: During the management of a claim, the board of directors should have in hand, at all times, the keys to the affected apartments to access them if necessary. If this is a problem, due to a lack of cooperation by the co-owners concerned, the syndicate could not be blamed if the work was slow to start. 

 WARNING! Water damage is the most common disaster in co-ownership. They require concerted action, carried out quickly and in a coordinated manner. When such a loss occurs, time is the first factor to consider, in order to limit the breakage and activate insurance claims as soon as possible.

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