He lives on the top floor of a condo building with a pool on the roof above him. Sounds nice, until water started pouring into his home. When he contacted his association, they said they wouldn’t pay for it. It’s tonight’s Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

His name is James Scott. His nickname could be “The Collector.”

James Scott: “Yes, I collect art, I collect coins, I collect horses, and I have a couple of footballs signed by Dan Marino and Earl Campbell.”

With the art lining his walls, James and his wife like their condo on the top floor, with a pool above them on the roof.

Patrick Fraser: “Are you nervous living underneath that pool?”

James Scott: “Well, I’m a good sleeper, but you know, I just don’t think about it.”

But he does now, after he had a leak in his bathroom, and his association stepped in.

James Scott: “So they figured out it was a weatherproofing between a deck and the pool.”

They hired a company to solve the problem, and the real problems began.

James Scott: “So they decided they had to take up all the roof, all the pool like a demolition, and then the first day they did that, it rained the next day. It all came in our house like a waterfall.”

Water pouring down the walls behind the dry wall, dripping from the ceiling in his bedroom, soaking some of his art.

James Scott: “It was just a mess that ruined one of my paintings, ruined our floor, because it wasn’t sealed, so with the water sitting there, a couple of my antique chairs, my antique cabinet. Side of that, we got all wet and ruined.”

James contacted his association. They said don’t worry.

James Scott: “Because at the beginning they said, ‘Oh, we know everything’s going to be, we’re going to fix everything.'”

And then they sent a certified letter.

James Scott: “And then they come back and say, ‘We’re not doing anything.'”

The Avenue Lofts Condo Association refused to pay to repair James’ unit and the others on the top floor, and so did the contractor.

James Scott: “And the engineer said, ‘It’s not our problem. We have all the permits and everything’s good on the top.’ I said, ‘Yeah, but you don’t check underneath what you did to the apartments underneath.'”

Underneath where James had to collect buckets to collect the water that poured in.

James Scott: “This is where one of the leaks came down, and they gave me buckets, and I’ve had this in here for a year. Over a year.”

The board’s attorney said James should file a claim with his homeowner’s insurance. He did, but they would only pay $8,000. The estimates to repair his condo are nearing $20,000.

James Scott: “I just want the money to fix my place like it was. That’s it. It’s a simple thing.”

It seems simple, but is it Howard?

Howard Finkelstein, 7News legal expert: “It could be. If the contractor was negligent, they are responsible, and the condo association has to provide the name of the contractor’s insurance company. If the contractor was not negligent, then the owners have to rely on their own homeowner’s insurance.”

We contacted the board’s attorney and the construction company to get the name of the contractor’s insurance company. The construction company did not respond to me.

The board’s attorney wrote: “Everything was done with permits. The roof has passed a flood test, insurance claims were made and have been paid and there is no story here.”

James says that’s news to him.

James Scott: “Yes, that stunned me.”

James is now filing a demand with the association to get the name of the contractor’s insurance company. If that doesn’t work, he’s going to sue.”

James Scott: “I have to if they’re not going to pay for the damages.”

Patrick Fraser: “Do you ever think you’d have to sue for work your own association did?” 

James Scott: “No. It doesn’t make any sense.”

Hopefully filing the demand for the contractor’s insurance will get the paperwork James needs so he and the other owners can file a claim directly with that insurance carrier, and then get the damage covered.  

Problems pouring in on you? Ready to make a splash? Let’s pool our ideas and see if we can mop things up for you. 

With this Help Me Howard, I’m Patrick Fraser, 7News.  

Email: helpmehoward@wsvn.com
Reporter: Patrick Fraser at pfraser@wsvn.com
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