—Alarmed Unit Owner
“If the association was negligent in maintaining the roof, then it should be responsible for the cost of reconstructing your alarm system because that would not have been necessary had the association not been negligent. Support for this can be found under the New Jersey Condominium Act which provides that a ‘unit owner shall have no personal liability for any damages caused by the association or in connection with the use of the common elements.’ New Jersey courts have also recognized that the unit owner has a right to maintain legal action for compensation against the wrongdoer for defective conditions in the common elements, which result in damages to the unit and personal property.
“The association may argue that it was not negligent, but rather its vendors failed to detect the cause of the leak. I do not believe such an argument relieves the association of its responsibility to pay for the cost to reconstruct your alarm. Rather, it would appear that the association would have a claim against the vendor for reimbursement of that cost. It seems to me that if a roofer was able to discover the source of the leak, this discovery could have been made earlier by the association or its previous vendors.
“Lastly, another means of recourse is to have the association file a claim under its insurance policy for the damage. The association may be able to avoid having to directly reimburse you for reconstruction of your alarm system if its insurance carrier provides coverage for the claim.”