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Damage Caused By Neighbor


By Ilyce R. Glink and Samuel J. Tamkin

Summary: A neighbor refuses to pay for the damage caused by their water leak. Sam suggests taking the problem to small claims court.

Q: For the past 30 years, my aunt and uncle has lived in a second floor condominium in an old 4-story building. About 3 years ago, a new owner moved into the unit above them. For the eighth time, the neighbor above them has caused water damage in their unit. The neighbor has always refused to make an insurance claim and has refused to pay for the damage.

The most recent damage was caused by an unlicensed contractor doing plumbing and other work without a permit. The neighbor first said she would pay for the damage but has since refused.
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What recourse does my uncle have?

A: Your uncle will probably have to sue the neighbor to have his expenses reimbursed. Of greatest concern these days are repeated claims with an insurance company. If your uncle makes repeated claims for water damage to his insurance company, the company will likely drop him. Once dropped, other insurance companies will be unlikely to insure your uncle.

Generally, the responsibility for repairs caused by a neighbor to another unit should be borne by the neighbor. If the neighbor refuses, your uncle will have to sue the neighbor either in small claim’s court or with the assistance of an attorney.

Samuel J. Tamkin is a Chicago-based real estate attorney. Ilyce R. Glink’s latest book is 50 Simple Steps You Can Take To Sell Your Home Faster and For More Money In Any Market. If you have questions for them, write: Real Estate Matters Syndicate, PO Box 366, Glencoe, IL 60022 or contact them through Ilyce’s website




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