Court Says HOA is Responsible for the Cost of Installing Drains Under Owners’ Properties to Remedy Ground Water Problem

This case involved a dispute between various homeowners (“Owners”) and their homeowners association (“Association”) over the responsibility for damage to Owners’ properties caused by a persistent water drainage problem.

Association was the holder of easement rights in a thirteen-foot area behind 56-lots in the community. The area subject to Association’s easement is located on the downslope of a hill that descends towards the backyards of Owners’ properties. Association’s governing documents contained express obligations of the part of Association to maintain drainage controls for both the adjoining open space and the easement areas.

Inadequate water drainage had been a long-standing issue with Owners as evidenced by the fact that over the years Association had taken such steps to control drainage by building a retaining wall and a swale and installing sump pumps in the private homes. In the mid-1990s, water began to seep into the basements of Owners properties and various steps were taken to try to eliminate what was considered a “groundwater” problem. In 2019, an engineering firm recommended:

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