We have a 3 story condominium complex we assist in managing, in Michigan. Recently, a home owner has been out of state, to assist family. The last time the unit was occupied was in the summer. The thermostat was turned off, and the unit froze the plumbing in the ceiling of the unit without heat, damaging 4 other units. We have a master insurance policy, and each home owner has condo insurance. We had several problems in the last week. Trying to sort this mess out. The condo association pays for preventive maintenance to walk around the exterior and check all units and notify Management of units without gas or electric. The association attempts to prevent flood as much as possible. The association can turn on utilities in the name of the association and back bill unit owners / banking lenders in cases of foreclosure. To maintain heat and prevent floods. Our bylaws allow entry of any unit in the event of emergencies to prevent damage to another unit of access to common areas, ie: between floors for access to plumbing and electrical etc. The association normally covers plumbing up to the shut off of the appliance. 1) Who is responsible for the repair of the plumbing system for a frozen pipe in a common element (between floor joist of 3rd floor and ceiling of second floor) where a unit owner failed to maintain heat. Is the co owner liable for damages to the other units for failing to maintain heat? The unit owner (by phone) refused to allow maintenance to enter the unit, to access the situation and board members had to arrive to to convince a family member who had a key to allow maintenance into the unit. In the future, if we are having an issue should we authorize maintenance to enter by any means possible if we cant get co operation and the unit owner is not home? ie: Kick the door in, break out a window. and afterwards re secure the unit. Do we automatically contact a water mitigation contractor and allow them access to extract water and start clean up of flooded units? The association or its agent has the right of entry, maintenance is the agent who was called to address the situation. Our maintenance man is great he has saved our association $240,000 in 2 years. The unit owners representative left the condo before mitigation contractor arrived on scene. The unit below was still dripping water because the unit above refused to allow contractor in to clean up water, do we force our way in because the homeowner is "maintaining a nuisance" which is preventing the co owner reasonable use and enjoyment of his property below? How can we prevent this from happening again? Additionally, the units have fire suppression system in them and the association maintains that as well. What about a unit that is in foreclosure and the owner has abandoned the unit and the bank has not taken possession? What is the right thing to do?
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