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Ask the Lawyer: who is responsible for clogged drains: condominium corporation or condo owner?

Question from our reader:

What is the typical procedure for condo managers to solve  building drain clogs, and who should pay the cost?

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Richard Hoffman answers:

Normally, it is the responsibility of the owner to unclog drains in the sinks and toilets in their unit. However, if it can be established that the clog is in the pipes located in  the common elements that is the responsibility of the condominium corporation.

Determining if it’s your problem or the condo corporation

According to the Condo Information Centre: “Is this your problem or that of the condo? If the drain backs up when you are not using the sink, call the management office or the superintendent.

If the drain backs up when you are using the sink, that’s probably your own personal problem and responsibility. First, try the “recipe” in the previous section above. Then, try a plunger. If none of this works, a plumber may be needed. The manager or superintendent may be able to give you a referral. But you have to pay the plumber directly for this service.”

Tip: A recurring and costly problem in condo high rises is that residents pour cooking oil, grease, hair or food and even kitty litter down the drains or even the toilets. Not only will the kitchen and bathroom drains clog but this may also cause a back-up in other residents’ kitchens.”

 

 

RICHARD P. HOFFMAN

Richard Hoffman has been a member of DelZotto, Zorzi LLP since 1992, practicing in the area of condominium law. He has represented condominium corporations and unit owners through all stages of the litigation process and at all levels of Ontario Courts (Superior Court of Justice, Divisional Court and Court of Appeal). He is well experienced in handling all types of condominium litigation, from applications to enforcing compliance with declarations, by-laws or rules, to handling multi-million dollar claims for budget misrepresentation. He has also advised condominium corporations of various sizes on all facets of condominium law.

Richard is presently a member of the Canadian Condominium Institute and regularly lectures on contract and agency law in the condominium context at Humber College, as well, he is a regular contributor to various condominium magazines and has contributed to the condominium section of the Toronto Star.

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