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Condo owner wins $38,000 for leaky roof

A woman who complained about a leaky roof for years has won a $38,000 case against her condo management firm.

Maria Rose Hill said the leaks had caused her years of distress and discomfort and resulted in thousands of dollars of damage.

Flamingo Court Ltd, the company that managed the property, admitted it had an obligation to maintain the roofs, but could not afford to carry out the work.

Assistant Justice Mark Diel, in a judgment dated May 27, said: “One does not, fortunately, need to be a legal scholar to realise that while this may be the reason for not repairing the roof, it is not an excuse.”

The court heard that Ms Hill, of Ferrars Lane, Pembroke, had made “requests too numerous to particularise” about the problem.

She asked the court for $19,575 for roof repairs, $17,692 for kitchen cabinet replacement and $1,500 for temporary accommodation while the work was carried out, a total of $38,687.

Colin Jones, a director of the company, accepted in a witness statement that there were leaks caused by a combination of termite damage and ageing and that the roof needed to be repaired.

He said: “The defendant does not have the funds to properly repair the roof over the plaintiff’s unit or any unit and there is no consensus on how to raise the funds.

“It is one thing to say that the roof must be fixed. It is quite another thing to say that funding for repairs is available.”

Mr Jones admitted that the company had a duty to repair the roof, but had failed to do so.

Mr Diel said that given the financial hardship of the company, a ruling against them could result in it looking to tenants, including Ms Hill, for the funds to award Ms Hill, or the company being wound up.

He added: “While I am not unsympathetic to the financial plight the company finds itself in, I do not see how this is a matter for the court in these proceedings.

“Even if I had some discretion on this matter, it would be remiss of me not to comment upon the defendant’s conduct.

“Clearly the plaintiff cannot and should not be expected to continue under the current state of affairs.”

Mr Diel was also critical of Ms Hill’s conduct during the proceedings and said she had been warned at least three times about being in contempt of court.

He added: “I have little doubt if her conduct was as bad as it was in court, it could only have been worse when dealing with the company representatives over the years.”

Mr Diel found in favour of Ms Hill and awarded her the amount she had claimed.

He said: “The defendant does indeed, as it accepted, owe a duty to the plaintiff to maintain and/or repair the roof. It has breached and continues to breach that duty.”

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