What is the name of your state? CA
Hi everyone,

I just discovered this forum. Looks to be an interesting resource for info. I have been living in my 1 bedroom condo since 1990, almost 20 years. This is an apartment building that was converted to condos (back in the late 70's, I think). I'm on the first floor of a 3-story building. Back in 2004-05, after some particularly strong rain storms (and Santa Ana winds), my bedroom became flooded... not ankle-deep in water, but about 80% of the bedroom's carpeting was sponge-like. It turns out, that after investigation, it was not just water from rainfall that was seeping into my apartment, but also water/runoff from the raised garden beds in the central courtyard outside (on the east side) of my apartment.

The first time I stepped out of bed and onto a spongey carpet, I was totally startled. I tried to sop up the wetness with layers of newspaper, but eventually wound up buying a wet-dry vac. The HOA's response was to send over an industrial blow dryer to dry the carpeting. I sandbagged the entire patio area on the east side of apartment but that didn't stop the water from seeping in. The HOA sent over someone to "seal" (slather some kind of polymer on) the exterior wall of my unit, but that did no good. Water was still able to seep in. Eventually the rain would stop. Mercifully, I'm in Southern California and it doesn't rain that often... but the runoff from the garden beds continued... and they're watered by sprinklers twice a day.

Over the course of the next couple of years, after making numerous complaints to the HOA and to the property management company # 1, all to no avail... I finally contacted the L.A. County Board of Health's Housing Department, and I believe it is their report to the management company that instigated an immediate response. This was in early 2005 and the HOA and management company provided hotel accommodations for me for almost 2 weeks, while my entire apartment was rehabbed... installing new drywall in the bedroom and in the living room (on the wall opposite the bedroom) and carpet and paint throughout. I should have sold my apartment then... but, alas... I thought everything was fixed and all would be well.

In January of 2007, it rained again in Los Angeles... and there I was, with the same old problem. By now, our condo complex had management company #2. A sump pump was installed on the patio of the apartment next to mine. Water was backing up there and somehow they thought that would help with the seepage of water into my unit. Once again, I spent hours toiling with wetnewspapers and wet-dry vacuuming. And management company #2 provided an industrial carpet blow-dryer. Complaints to HOA and to managment company fell on deaf ears.

Now, it's January 2008. I had resigned my job and was planning to move in January. But, we have now had two big rainstorms (big for L.A.) and my bedroom once again was soaked. Management company #2 offered sympathy and to have a company come over and dry and clean my carpet. The carpet cleaners came... but would not touch the carpet... because by now, there was mold all across the bottom of the interior wall of my bedroom (and on the legs of the furniture sitting on the spongey carpet). They insisted that the mold must be treated before the carpets could be dried and cleaned.

It's taken months... calls to the HOA and management company #2... and, once again, the L.A. County Board of Health's Housing Department, who sent a report to the management company to "fix" the problem. From what I understand, their failure to do would result in a big fine... and a hearing with the City District Attorney's office. I would encourage anyone having similar problems to not hesitate to contact their city or county's board of health agency.

I am planning to sell my unit and move and I need to be able to make a full disclosure to any prospective buyer. I hired an environmental company to test for air quality and moisture content and to take mold specimens in my unit. On a scale of 0 to 5, with 5 being highest (and the worst), all of the rooms in my apartment, as well as the outside patio and the hallway, rated 4+. I have had several (able to document) cases of severe bronchitis over the last few years, probably due to the toxic conditons I've been living with. I have told the HOA and the management company #2 that I am trying to sell my apartment and their failure to rectify this water intrusion problem is preventing me from doing so. (I am now unemployed and unable to list my apartment for sale until this problem is rectified.) I gave them a copy of my environmental report, and they hired a construction engineer (instead of the usual plumber... or some schmuck with a truck) and a certified mold remediation company to resolve the water intrusion/mold problems in my unit. The water intrusion comes from several common areas and is due to deferred maintenace by the HOA.

My bedroom is uninhabitable, as is the rest of my apartment really... The living and dining rooms are stacked with boxes ready for the moving van. I have asked the HOA to provide accommodations for me (and my cat) while they rehab my unit and they have refused. It seems like a reasonable request, since I am unemployed and have to be home all day... and I have been paying exorbitant HOA fees for almost 20 years... for the opportunity to live in a toxic apartment for the last 5 or 6 years.

The HOA has been derelict in its duties. Their malignant neglect has resulted in a toxic living environs that has compromised my health; a loss of habitability (can't have friends over... don't even want to be here myself); property damage (bed, bureaus, carpeting, clothing).

The HOA has breached its fiduciary responsibility, according to the CCR's... "The Association shall have the responsibility to manage and maintain, or cause to be maintained, all of the Common Areas in a state of high quality so as to keep the whole project in a first class condition."

So, I'm just wondering... what recourse does a condo owner have? I'm obliged (for fear of a lien) to pay my HOA fee every month... come hell or rain water... yet the HOA and management companies continually fail to honor their obligations... often responding to even emergent complaints only when "forced."

Even more significant than my complaints of
*** lost time from work (due to bronchitis)
*** and time spent trying to prevent the water intrusion (sandbags, newspapers,
trying to clear patio and courtyard drains)
*** and to time spent on cleanup... is...
*** the loss of income (while I sit and wait)
*** and the diminishing value of my property,
due to the slowness of the HOA to respond.
(diminishing even faster, in today's economy)

Is it possible to sue the HOA for damages???I'm sorry this is so long... and I hope I haven't been too reedundant. Any ideas will be appreciated.
What is the name of your state?What is the name of your state?What is the name of your state?What is the name of your state?What is the name of your state?