Does My HOA Have to Reimburse Me For Costs of the Fire Department Boarding Up My Door After Investigating a Water Leak if the HOA Made No Attempt to Contact Me First?

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“I have vacated my condo, but my downstairs neighbor had a problem with a leak coming from my condo upstairs. She tried to contact the HOA but they are closed on the weekend. None of the board members had access to my contact information, so my neighbor called the fire department to check out the problem. The fire department then knocked down my door to get in and assess the problem. The HOA repaired my door, which I thought would be their responsibility anyway, but now the Fire Department has billed me $500 for having to board up the door after  they broke in.

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If the HOA had contacted me I could have told them that there was a key under my doormat. I don’t feel that I should be responsible for any of the damage since I gave the HOA accurate contact information. Is there any legal justification to support this?”

Just to be clear, as between you and the fire department, you almost certainly owe them for what they did. You are the owner of the property, and assuming they are entitled to bill the owner of the property, they are entitled to get paid by you.

The question is, do you have a right to be reimbursed by the HOA? That, unfortunately, is a more complicated question, that will depend on all the facts and circumstances of the case. My best guess is that it will turn on whether the HOA had an obligation to contact you at the contact information you gave them, and that will depend on the terms of your HOA documents. Also, it’s not clear why the board members didn’t have access to your contact information, so that might be a factor, as well.

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Author: House Attorney

A house attorney has answered this question.