---Dripping in Dumont
“In addition to addressing the question of direct responsibility for the losses caused by a leaking pipe, there may be a claim that the association should have warned its members of the problem. The New Jersey Appellate Division in a 2005 case however, expanded the duties of condominium associations in the circumstance of an association where dishwasher hoses were breaking and flooding other units. In Siddons v. Cook, 382 N.J.Super. 1 (App. Div. 2005) the plaintiff was a condominium unit owner whose unit was flooded when the dishwasher hose in a unit above hers broke. The condominium association was on notice of defective hoses in three other units prior to the flood. The appellate panel concluded that, under those circumstances, the condominium association had a duty to warn the unit owners of the potential flood hazard, despite the fact that the condominium association had no duty to maintain or repair the dishwasher hoses, because they were not common elements.
“Accordingly, for our clients located in older buildings where plumbing leaks are more frequent than in other newer construction, we recommend that the board proactively communicate with its members to advise them of their responsibilities. This includes circulating a maintenance chart of responsibilities and resolutions requiring unit owners to procure and maintain insurance policies covering the contents of their units. These policies will often have a liability component which will serve to protect the unit owner from claims for leaks affecting other owners. They also have the benefit of bringing insurance professionals into a claim early enough to allow appropriate investigation and adjustment. Even though the source of the leak in this situation is hidden behind a wall these problems are foreseeable and should be anticipated and handled by the association's board to reduce conflict among unit owners.” n