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Minnesota Court of Appeals: An HOA’s failure to quickly stop a leak is both negligent and a trespass

by Alex Nelson MinnesotaConstruction Case Law & StatutesHomeowner Associations

In this recently decided case, a townhome owner had filed suit against his HOA for water damage caused by a pipe leak. The townhome association owned an easement under Mr. Chiu's home, in his crawlspace, for a domestic water pipe that served other units. The pipe ruptured, flooding the crawlspace and causing damage to Chiu's home. Chiu immediately reported the leak to his homeowners association, and was told that there was "nothing they could do". The water continued to flow and cause damage. The water was not turned off until two days after Chiu's notification to the HOA. Chiu sued the HOA not in breach of contract (as would be typical, pursuant to the Declaration), but rather in negligence and trespass. The Minnesota Court of Appeals allowed both legal theories to stand.