One of the most common and thorniest of legal issues facing condominium associations involves determining who is responsible to cover the cost of damages caused by a water leak or other such water intrusion event. The answer to this question turns on the particular facts of the case. Was the leak the result of a “casualty” such as a storm or a common pipe bursting thus covered by the Association’s insurance policy? Where did the water leak emanate from, inside the unit such as a toilet or sink, or beyond the walls of a unit typically deemed the common elements? Was a unit owner’s failure to maintain or repair an air conditioning unit or other appliance related to the leak which caused damage to another unit? When the water damage is caused by a casualty/insurable event the party responsible to insure that portion of the damaged condominium property is the party responsible for the costs of repair. In the absence of negligent maintenance by a unit owner, the condominium association is almost always responsible for “drywall out”, meaning the physical drywall material and everything beyond the drywall. The unit owner is responsible for finishes on the drywall, such as primer and paint as well as all personal property within the unit itself such as furniture. Therefore, if insurance coverage doesn’t cover all of the costs of repair/restoration in the event of storm event or unexpected pipe bursting, the condominium association covers the costs of replacing drywall, removing mold if present due to the water intrusion, but not painting the drywall or any damaged personal contents within the unit. However, major shift in the liability discussion if proven that a leak came from the inside of a unit. The liability will be dictated by the precise language of the governing documents of the condominium association, i.e., the Declaration of Condominium. The definition of the words “common elements” is key. Whether or not the “common elements” include the piping/plumbing exclusively servicing a particular unit even if beyond the drywall could affect the analysis. The “maintenance/repair” provision is also central to the issue as well with language typically describing what the condominium association is obligated to maintain versus that of the unit owner. The assignment of maintenance related responsibilities to one party will commonly coincide with which party is financially responsible for the repairs/replacement cost for damage to other aspects of the condominium property, including below units. The source of the leak is often times difficult to ascertain. Experts, such as a structural engineer or sometimes just a plumber, will need to opine how the leak came to exist. Once solid expert advice is gleaned establishing the how and where of the water leak, the precise language of the condominium association Declaration will usually be determinative as to which party or parties are ultimately responsible.