Do you know who is responsible for the plumbing in your condo or co-op unit and building? When you live in a condo, co-op or other multi-family residential building that has an HOA, different people are responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of different parts of the building. In general, you are responsible for everything inside your individual unit. This means that if an occupied unit has a leaky faucet or toilet, it’s probably the responsibility of the unit owner. However, the plumbing pipes in the walls can be gray areas. Therefore, it is extremely important to read through and memorize your HOA covenant.

HOA Plumbing Responsibilities

The Illinois Condominium Property Act lists required provisions for condos in the state of Illinois. In general, unless the covenant says differently, the homeowners association (HOA) is responsible for all the plumbing, potable water lines and drain lines in the common areas of the building.

When it comes to tenant-owned units, the HOA is typically responsible for the plumbing pipes and drain lines that serve multiple units. This means that if a main drain line breaks and it serves multiple units, it is the HOA’s responsibility.

However, there are often bare wall provisions within HOA covenants. This means that the HOA will pay for the plumbing repair on the damaged line and any drywall or structural components that were damaged by the leak. The HOA will not pay to restore decorative elements, like molding, paint and furnishings. Those items would be the unit owners responsibility.

Additionally, HOAs have the ability to levy special assessments for major repairs that the HOA cannot cover. For example, if the entire building needs a new plumbing system or extensive repairs on the existing plumbing system, the HOA will get several quotes and choose a plumbing contractor. Then, the HOA will vote to allow a special assessment, which is a one-time fee to all the residents of the building. The fee is the unit owners portion of the repair bill. For example, if the plumbing repairs are estimated to be $125,000 and there are 100 units in the building, each unit owner would be responsible for paying an additional $1,250 to the HOA.

Unit Owner Responsibilities

Unit owners are responsible for everything inside their unit, including the plumbing pipes that only serve that individual unit. This means that if a potable water line starts leaking, and it is determined that the leaking portion of the line only serves that unit, it is the units owner’s responsibility.

Additionally, condos have plat lines. These are diagrams that show individual units, and those lines could include parts of interior walls and hallways that surround the unit. If the leaking pipe is located within the individual unit’s plat line, the owner may be responsible for the repairs.

It is also important to note that the HOA may not be responsible for all the damage to a unit that is caused by a shared or common water pipe. If the HOA has a bare wall provision, the affected unit owners would be responsible for repairing finishes, flooring, damaged ceiling tiles and any furnishings, cabinets or other features within the unit that were damaged by the water leak.

Choosing the Right Long-Term Leaky Pipe Solution

If you, as a property manager or unit owner, are faced with plumbing repairs due to a leaky pipe, you may want to consider trenchless pipe lining. Trenchless pipe lining is a revolutionary way to rehabilitate potable water lines and drain lines without damaging drywall, finishes, fixtures, flooring and ceiling tiles, which means it’s less expensive for the HOA and the unit owners. It’s also faster than traditional pipe replacement because one the epoxy coating or liner cures, the pipes can be put back into service. Epoxy coatings and liners are also designed to last 50 years or longer, which is similar to the length of time you can expect a new pipe to last. Here at Nu Flow, we guarantee our pipe liners and coatings for 10 years with our installation agreement.

For more information on how trenchless epoxy pipe lining can rehabilitate all the plumbing pipes in your condo, call us at 815-790-9000.