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Repairs and Maintenance
Hello, what is deemed an acceptable number of water shut offs in a condo? I bought a condo pre-construction in May 2013. Between Oct 2015 and Dec 2018, we (Building 1) have had 15 all day (9 am to 5 pm) water shut offs at an increasing frequency and cost. I met with the Board and was told this is normal for a condo, which I find hard to believe as I have a number of family & friends who live in condos and, in comparing notes, this rate is high. In comparison, Building 2 of this complex has had 2 water shut offs over the past two years. Thanks for your answer!
I guess the question is why have there been so many water shut offs? Have owners in your building been making changes or modifications to the plumbing in their units requiring a shut off, or are there systemic plumbing problems within the building requiring repairs and needing a shut off to be able to complete? There is no deemed acceptable number of shut offs in a condo. Boards (or developers) have a duty to repair and maintain, Owners, depending on your bylaws, have a right to make changes and improvements. So the real question to put to the Board is why have their been so many shut offs in your building compared to others, Both repairs resulting from a hard to find building issue, and a high number of requests from your neighbors to make changes are acceptable answers.
Hi PhilR, Thank you for your response. From the notices that go out ahead of the water shut offs, it appears we have systemic plumbing issues within building 1 (but not in building 2). The last 4 notices of water shut offs (3 within 1 month) indicated: to do repairs on the 9th floor; to finish repairs on the 9th floor; to patch repairs on the 9th floor; to do repairs on the 9th floor. The Board's response to date to my question as to when a mechanical engineer will be engaged to do root cause analysis has been "Pinhole leaks happen." Has anyone else had this type of experience? Any advice as to how to make some headway? The onsite manager indicated a lot of Owners were upset with the Dec 27 water shut off, especially since it was advertised as starting at 9:00 a.m. and Reggin turned the water off at 8:45 a.m.
Unfortunately, pinhole leeks do happen, and once they start they need to be mitigated. It looks like your Board is trying to solve the issue, which they are obligated to do. The unfortunate part of unending leaks and water issues is that a) everyone in the condominium ownership group including those in other buildings unless your bylaws say otherwise, are on the hook to pay for these repairs either in their condo fees, out of the reserve fund if it becomes a major project (again look to your bylaws) or if the money is not there, as a special assessment. It is best to let your Board and the property management company bring in professionals to assess the problem and recommend a course of action. It is up to you and the others Owners to keep them at it until a solution is found and repairs are made even though there will be a cost.
Hi PhilR I was afraid we'd have to keep at the Board! 🙂 Yes, that is exactly the issue: the Board seems unwilling to admit we have a problem and get it fixed. Yes, both buildings have to pay for all the plumbing issues in Building 1 and unfortunately we are spending at least double the budgeted amount for plumbing each year. I didn't see any mention of these issues in the Reserve Fund Study, which also concerns me, as I'd rather not be facing special assessments in the future. The Reserve Fund Study noted that municipalities with hard water, such as Calgary, experience fewer pinhole leak issues. I have looked for industry standard data, i.e. what is an acceptable number of plumbing (etc) issues, and haven't found anything other than Service Alberta warning against buying condos with "persistent plumbing issues." This certainly doesn't meet the reasonable person expectation, i.e. would a reasonable person buy an expensive condo expecting 3 water shut offs in one month. Thanks!!!