Alan wins arbitration in condo dispute
In February, 2011, Alan prevailed on behalf of his client in an arbitration resulting from a dispute between the owners of a two-unit condominium.
Alan’s client (who brought the case) had desired to renovate her unit, and in connection with the renovation, upgraded certain utillity lines that were located in a “utility wall” that is located exclusively within the other owner’s unit. The defendant gave her written consent for work to be done within the wall, but claimed that the consent agreement did not encompass the installation of a gas line. After the work was completed, the Defendant refused to permit the Plaintiff to have her contractor close up the utility wall.
Following the renovation, Alan’s client attempted to sell her unit, and secured an offer to purchase from a prospective buyer. However, when the buyer appeared with her home inspector for an inspection, the Defendant told them the unit could not be sold without dealing with the problems in the utility wall, which the Defendant said included the removal of the gas line that she claimed was installed without her consent. As a result of this contact, the buyer withdrew her offer and Alan’s client took the unit off the market.
The parties agreed to arbitrate the matter before a retired judge. After two days of testimony and evidence, the arbitrator found that Alan’s client had consent to run the new lines through the utility wall. The arbitrator also issued an order restraining the Defendant from interfering with both the Plaintiff’s right to sell the property, and the closing up of the wall.
The case is illustrative of the problems that can arise in two-unit condominiums.