Water Collapses Ceiling – Letter to the Editor

August 2020

The ceiling from our bedroom collapsed on the bed followed by insulation, debris, mold and water from above, which seems to be a bathtub, flooding our master bedroom.

My wife was lucky.  If sleeping in bed, she would not have survived.

We called the building supervisor to turn off the water and inspect the damage.  After two days they provided a dehumidifier and no assistance since then.

What can we do?  Who will pay for and repair damage, and clean up?  The master bedroom is unusable.

The Building Manager says the condo was built in 1975, and based on his understanding there was no standard unit definition although some parts may still be original construction.

P. Popovici

(Letter and response truncated to fit available space.)

Response from Toronto Condo News

I’m sorry to hear of this.  Water problems are the biggest problem in high-rise communities although what you describe is rare.  When they occur it is important that you are fully insured to cover costs and for representation in dealing with other insurance companies.

To assist you we have reached out to Barry Herberman of Condominium Insurance Solutions which provides insurance for condominium corporations and deals with similar problems.

“Your first call should be to your insurance company. They would represent you in dealings with the insurance company for your building and that of the upstairs unit owner.  Together they would review policies to determine who pays for what.  Your insurance company would inform you of any costs to pay in accordance with your policy.

The Standard Unit Bylaw determines what is paid for by whom.  When it exists, anything other than original building construction is unlikely to be covered under the corporation’s insurance policy.  Upgraded flooring or cabinets, for example, would be insured through your insurance policy.  The Standard Unit Bylaw more clearly clarifies who pays for what and how much.  Regardless of fault, the general practice is for each insurance company to repair or replace what has been damaged for their client.  From your perspective it is irrelevant where the problem originates.”

As mentioned earlier, these are matters best addressed among insurance companies.  If one or more parties has not obtained proper insurance coverage they may be personally responsible for paying some or all repair, replacement and cleaning costs.

If you are not insured, it would be best to speak with building management about how to proceed.