The wind howled and rain came down sideways, lasting through the night, and when Jane Aubin [not her real name] got up for work in the morning, she discovered water bubbling under the paint and down the walls on the sides of the window frames in her historic brick townhouse.
A call to management became a series of calls, and Jane soon discovered that residents of her condo community own their windows and leaks are their responsibility. She was convinced, however, that the problem stemmed from the building’s exterior shell, which is a common area and the responsibility of the association.
Water leaks – which generate questions over liability along with the potential for significant damage – can raise a number of thorny issues for both homeowners and management.
The most difficult issue, and the most important, is to determine the source of the leak.
When a water leak is discovered inside a unit, one of the first things to look for is for faulty flashing, says Seth Frattasio, project manager with P.J. Spillane Company of Everett, Massachusetts, which performs buildingenvelope maintenance and rehabilitation, and has plenty of experience with water infiltration.