Association’s Delay in Repair of Common Area Results in Payment to Owners of Damaged Townhomes

Dec 20, 2017 By Maria Gerguis Condominium Associations

In Lakeside Village Homeowners Association, Inc. v. Belanger,1 the Texas Court of Appeals found an HOA violated the Declaration of Covenants when it delayed repairing common areas of the Lakeside Village townhome community in Rockwall County, Texas.

Lakeside is a gated townhome community comprising 498 units by a lake in Rockwall County, Texas. The HOA (referred to as “Lakeside”) owned and controlled the common areas, which was defined in the Declaration of Covenants as “all real property owned by [Lakeside] for the common use and enjoyment of the owners.” As the court explained it, Lakeside was responsible for “the 13,500 square feet of streets, 7,800 square feet of retaining walls, street lights, tennis courts, the pool, the gym, and the golf course.” When the HOA failed to repair faulty retaining walls that caused damages to a duplex, the duplex owners sued.

Belanger and Drennan were the owners of two townhomes connected by an interior wall and a foundation wall, making the units a duplex. When the property was purchased, railroad tie retaining walls were on the common areas to the north, east, and south of the duplex property. Unfortunately, these walls proved to be structurally failing. Rather than divert water, its faulty structure allowed the water to build up and exert pressure against the foundation, eventually compromising the foundation and structure of the property and walls and stucco to separate.

In 2007, Belanger noticed water damage to the property caused by the faulty common area’s retaining walls. And, in 2011, Drennan became a resident of Lakeside townhomes and noticed cracks and flooding to the driveway. Although Lakeside was aware of their faulty structure in 2006, nothing was done to fix the problem, even after several complaints from Belanger and Drennan.

In 2011, Belanger and Drennan sued Lakeside and its management company, Principal, for breach of contract, trespass, negligence, and diversion of water claims, and the trial court ruled in their favor. Although Lakeside and Principal appealed, the Texas Court of Appeals found the association had breached its contractual duties to maintain the common areas, and their failure to repair or maintain the common area retaining wall caused water to be unlawfully diverted onto the owners’ property, causing property damage in violation of Water Code and a trespass on the owners’ property.

Ultimately, the HOA and its management company’s decision to delay paying for the repair of the faulty retaining walls resulted in the court ordering payment for the repair, trespass and Water Code violations.

1 Lakeside Village Homeowners Association, Inc. v. Belanger, No. 08-15-00214-CV (Tex. App. Jun. 14, 2017).

Are you looking for help?

Let us help you. Call now: (877) 449-4700 | Monday – Friday, 9 AM – 5PM

Why choose Merlin Law Group?

Founded in 1985, our law firm continues to be dedicated to representing insurance policyholders throughout the United States. Collectively, our lawyers are licensed to practice in 25 states. In fact, many of Merlin Law Group’s attorneys worked for the insurance industry before joining the firm, so they bring a strong understanding of insurance company practices. Anyone can file a claim, but it takes experience, knowledge, and savvy to achieve a truly successful outcome. As The Policyholder’s Advocate®, Merlin Law Group aims to drive positive change within the insurance sector by obtaining justice for our clients and educating policyholders on how to navigate insurer bad faith tactics.

When we handle property insurance claim disputes, we hire the most experienced and qualified expert witnesses to evaluate your insurance claim and testify on your behalf. In most cases, we can advance the fees for this. Typically, we hire experts such as engineers, contractors, independent roofing consultants and other professionals to perform a thorough assessment on all possible causes of damages. This is a process that provides us with a very detailed and all-inclusive estimate for determining and justifying a proper settlement. Our use of these professional expert witnesses sets us apart from other insurance law firms.

Submit a free case review