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Q&A: Who Pays for Soggy Alarm System?

Q I live in a top floor apartment of a condo building. There has been a leak from the roof for a few years. The condo has been trying to stop the source of the leak over that time period, but to no avail. They have now hired a roofer, who has broken through my ceiling and found just where the water is coming in (from 3 different places).

Because the water has been coming in for so many years, the condo will be demolishing the damaged portion of my ceiling, at least one wall, and the interior of a closet. I have my own wired alarm system that runs along theceiling area that will be demolished. The alarm system therefore will have to be reconstructed also. My question is: Who is responsible for the cost of reconstructing my alarm system after all the other work is done?

— All Wet in MA

A On the description you supplied, it is unclear as to what steps had been taken previously. However, where the owner indicates that the board hired a contractor after several years of leaks, it appears as though the board was probably using a handyman or its maintenance personnel to no avail. This is significant because a failure to take proper steps to resolve this issue may be evidence of negligence on the part of the board, notwithstanding its assumed good intentions.

I have been informed that some engineering firms and some contractors have access to a machine that when pointed at the evidence of a leak insidea unit can follow that leak back to its source through the use of infrared technology.

For a leak to have existed for several years without resolution may well be evidence of negligence and a breach of the board's obligation to properly repair and maintain the common areas.

With the above in mind, I will attempt to answer the question as follows.

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