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Q&A: Can You Just Pipe Down a Minute?

Q. My condo unit seems to have developed a pretty substantial water leak. I cannot find the origin of it but I know it’s a definite problem. How do I know whether I am responsible for the water leak or whether it is located inside the walls or coming from some other unit down the plumbing line if the pipe serves more than one unit? What can I do to determine if I am the responsible party or if it is the association’s responsibility? 

                        —All Wet in Wilmette

A. “Condominium and homeowners associations often have questions regarding maintenance responsibilities for pipes,” according to James R. Stevens, an attorney and partner  with the Chicago law firm of Chuhak & Tecson, P.C.

 “This is mainly a consideration for condominium associations, where the plumbing design for the property involves pipes that serve(s): 1) one unit only, 2) one or more units, but not all, and 3) the plumbing system for the building as a whole. 

“Single family homeowners associations and townhomes have less frequent plumbing considerations as many common interest properties only share main sewer spurs and supply lines between properties.

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