Infiltrations are very common problems, especially in buildings, and not always easy to solve – after all, the correction does not depend only on the homeowner, but also on the administration of the condominium and, in some cases, even on the neighbors.
If you deal with this problem at home, learn how to write a letter of complaint for infiltrationto send to the condominium administration and request works to correct the problem.
What is the infiltration complaint letter used for?
The infiltration complaint letter serves to officially communicate to the condominium administration that water is entering your home, coming from failures in structures for which you are not responsible.
It should be used, for example, when infiltrations in your home are caused by problems in the common spaces of the building or in neighboring houses.
In addition to formalizing the complaint, this letter also serves to officially request that the problem be corrected. If necessary, this document proves that you reported the problem to the competent authorities.
How to write the letter?
Before you start writing, prepare a list of topics you want to include. In this case, and because it is a letter of complaint for infiltrations, you will have to consider several questions:
- Description of the problem: where are the infiltrations and in what quantity;
- Annotation of the duration of the problem: since when did the infiltrations occur;
- Predictable causes of this problem: common or neighboring structures;
- Caused damage: materials and goods that have been damaged by water;
- Solution you are looking for: correction works, repair of structures, or others, as well as the period in which you want it to be carried out.
Once you have this list, you can start moving forward with the text. Try to be as concise as possible, use short sentences and limit yourself to one idea per sentence. Be clear in the descriptions and, above all, in what you want the condominium administration to do for you.
It is also convenient to be thoughtful and not to come forward with accusations, especially to the neighbors. Remember that infiltrations always require an expert to know exactly what causes them. Therefore, it makes no sense to point the neighbor as the culprit without having a technical and official opinion in this regard.
To help you get started, we have prepared a sample infiltration complaint letter that you can complete.
Check it out here: Infiltration Complaint Letter Template
Documents to be attached to the letter
The letter of complaint for infiltrations gains much more strength when it is accompanied by proof of these infiltrations. Therefore, it is advisable that you spend some time taking pictures of the damage to be able to attach it to the letter, proving the situation you describe.
If, however, you have already taken the initiative to call an expert to assess the situation, it is worth attaching the expert report to the letter, as it helps to speed up the process of determining responsibilities.
Precautions when sending a complaint letter for infiltrations
Remember that this letter will be your legal proof of how you officially reported the problem to your condominium administration. In addition to keeping a copy of the document, it is advisable to send the letter on paper, by registered post.
Sending it by registered mail gives you proof of the day you left the letter at the post office, and also guarantees that the missive is delivered by hand to the recipient (who, therefore, cannot argue that he did not receive anything).
Of course, the same letter can be sent by email, but be aware that the legal validity will no longer be the same and you could be harmed if the process goes in the worst way.
What happens after sending the infiltration complaint letter?
The first reaction to expect is a response from the condominium management to your letter. In that response, management should inform you of what it is going to do – and that, in principle, will include a request for expertise to ascertain the causes of the problem.
From there, you should have a visit from the experts (who will need to see, inside your house, where the water comes from and what damage it caused). This team, which usually works for a construction company or for the condominium’s own insurance company, may also need to see the neighbors’ houses, if it is possible that the cause of the infiltration is on their side.
Depending on the result of the expert report, there are several possible scenarios:
If the infiltration has no external causes
If the water does not come from structures in the condominium or neighbors, the insurer does not assume the expense of the works and the neighbors are also under no obligation. Any repairs will have to be assumed by you.
If the infiltration is caused by structures for which the condominium is responsible
The condominium administration has to respond to their demands and ensure repair work on structures that are leaking water.
If these works are covered by the condominium insurance, this process is relatively simple: the administration communicates the claim to the insurance company, which, in turn, orders the intervention to be carried out.
If the works are not covered by the condominium’s insurance, the budget for the works will have to be approved by the joint owners’ meeting in order to move forward (if the meeting does not approve, the works cannot be carried out, and then it enters into an impasse that is difficult to resolve).
If the infiltration is caused by structures that are the responsibility of the neighbors
The neighbors will have to bear the cost of the repair work. In principle, these neighbors will have active insurance that guarantees the financing of this intervention, so it will only be a matter of them reporting the claim and waiting for instructions from the insurer.
What if nothing happens?
If, after the deadline established in the complaint letter for infiltrations, nothing has been done and still no response, you can proceed with a lawsuit against the condominium administration or, alternatively, seek to resolve the conflict in a court of peace.
If you get to this point, count on some expense, because you will certainly need the help of a lawyer.
Article originally published in June 2021. Last updated in March 2023.