Asked and AnsweredA leaking pipe inside the wall of my co-op was recently replaced. The following month, my maintenance account was charged $1,000.00 on the theory that the pipe only serviced my apartment. Am I responsible for this repair?
Probably not. The general rule is that the co-op or condo is responsible for repairs from the walls in (that is, the mechanical systems and fixtures existing within the infrastructure of the building) and the owner of the apartment is responsible for repairs within the apartment (that is, a leaky sink). Exactly “who” is responsible for “what” should be knowable by a review of the co-op or condo’s governing documents. Although it’s possible that a particular valve or branch line of the building’s plumbing system serves only one apartment, the maintenance and repair of the interior plumbing of a co-op or condo is usually the responsibility of the building and not the individual owner. Unfortunately, the cost of asserting your rights could be significantly more expensive than the charge to your account. If a review of the proprietary lease (in the case of a co-op) or the declaration (in the case of a condo) indicates that you are clearly not responsible for this repair, you can consider small claims court as an economical way of having your day in court if management refuses to be reasonable. That being said, fighting with your co-op or condo Board can always have unintended consequences, so consider your options and the economics carefully.