Water Damage From the Upstairs Condo: 6 Steps to Recovery

Author: Diana Rodriguez-Zaba
Last Updated on

It can happen while you’re at work or after you’ve gone to bed. You might be cooking in the kitchen when you notice something very wrong.

Water damage from the upstairs condo can take several days to show up, or it can drip down the walls in just a matter of minutes.

Are you wondering, “How do I deal with water damage from the condo above me?” 

Knowing what to do minimizes the impact and makes it easier to sort out liability issues.

We handle residential water damage in condos and high-rises all across Chicago, Illinois and the suburbs, so we can help.

Read on to find out exactly what you need to do to tackle this mess. 

Water Damage From Another Condo Unit: 6 Steps to Recovery

ceiling water damage from condo unit

You have to start cleanup and find a way to stop water from leaking into your unit. You need to talk with your insurance company and navigate the claims process.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed.

These six steps for handling water damage from the upstairs condominium can make a big difference.

1. Knock on the Neighbor’s Door

The upstairs neighbor might not know there’s a problem, so reach out.

Explain the extent of water damage in your condominium and the need to make repairs as quickly as possible.

2. Contact Building Maintenance

If the neighbor can’t stop the leak, alert building maintenance right away. Make sure they understand the potential damage and how it can affect other units.

3. Take Care of Cleanup

Even minor damage needs to be addressed quickly to discourage mold and mildew growth. Take care of DIY water damage cleanup as soon as possible.

4. Call Your Insurance Agent

Don’t assume the owners of the upstairs condo or your HOA will reimburse you for water damages. Call your insurance agent, and start the claims process.

5. Review the HOA’s Master Policy

Contact your HOA, and request two copies of their master insurance policy. Forward one to your insurance agent so that he or she can determine its coverage and any HOA liability.

6. Bring in a Restoration Contractor

Extensive water damage needs to be handled by certified restoration technicians.

servicemaster water damage repair pro

If your ceilings, walls, floors or belongings are badly damaged, ask your insurance agent to recommend a Quality Restoration Vendor.

Water Leaking From the Upstairs Condo: 5 Common Causes

Residential water damage from the upstairs unit can be accidental, or it can be the result of negligence. Understanding why it happens can also help you understand how long you might have to wait for repairs to fix the problem. These are the most common causes of water leaks from upstairs condos.

• Faulty washing machine or dishwasher hoses

• Leaks around bathtubs and showers

• Clogged toilets or backed-up sewer lines

• Leaky pipes behind walls or under sinks

• Shoddy maintenance on building plumbing

toilet leaking in house

Your insurance company will want to establish exactly what happened so that they can assess liability and settle your claim.

When you speak to your agent, make sure you share contact information for your HOA, your building’s maintenance manager and the upstairs neighbors.

Water Damage Liability: Determining Responsibility

You’re not responsible for the water damage in your condo, but how much liability falls on the neighbor upstairs?

It depends on the cause of the leak as well as any provable negligence.

In most cases, accidental water damage from the unit above yours is covered by your homeowners insurance on your condo and belongings.

If it’s possible to prove the damage was preventable, your insurance company may pursue further action with the neighbor’s insurance carrier. If the problem occurred because of substandard building maintenance, your insurer may assign liability to the HOA.

Your best course of action is to let your insurance company handle anything beyond adjusting and settling your claim.

You rarely need to take legal action, and the process of pursuing a court case for damages can be very expensive.

Our Expertise at Your Service

It’s never easy to deal with residential water damage. It seems even harder when you have to address liability issues.

Keep the lines of communication open between on-site management, your HOA and the neighbor upstairs. Stay in close touch with your insurance agent too.

Complete condo cleaning and water remediation are key to a quick recovery.

You can count on ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba here in Chicago, IL 24/7. Our teams provide everything from initial assessment to assistance with the claims process.

We’re proud of our reputation as Chicago’s leading home water damage restoration service, and we’re always ready to put our expertise to work for you.

Call us now for help with condo water damage in Chicago or the suburbs: 773-647-1985

Is my HOA responsible for water damage?

It depends on the source of the water damage. If it resulted from shoddy building maintenance or neglected repairs, the HOA may be liable. This would also hold true for leaks from the upstairs condo that affect your unit.

Do I need sewer backup coverage for my condo?

Take a look at your current coverage to be sure. This type of protection isn’t usually a part of basic condo insurance. You may want to add specific sewage backup coverage to your policy.

Can my condo neighbor sue me for water damages?

If you don’t address obvious plumbing problems and repairs in your unit, you might be held responsible. If the damages were caused by leaks or flooding from the unit above you, you shouldn’t be held liable. Always consult an attorney first.