Q: I live in a townhouse where the water meters are near the parking lot. Who is responsible for repairing the water line from the meter to the individual townhouse unit? Is it the townhouse unit owner, or is it the association because the water line is in the common area?

— Clara

A: When you live in a community association, you agree to live by the rules and regulations in their governing documents.

While specific issues are dealt with differently depending on whether you live in a co-op, condominium or homeowners association, you will find the answer to most questions in your community’s documents.

The answer to your question will depend on the type of community you live in and how it was structured.

In most condominiums and co-ops, you are responsible for repairs and maintenance within your walls and limited common elements like balconies.

Your association will make necessary repairs inside the building’s walls and to the exterior surfaces and the common elements, such as the clubhouse, lawn and parking lot.

For homes within a homeowner association, the owner is typically responsible for all repairs within the boundary lines of their property. This can be confusing for townhomes, so you should review your survey to know where your property lines are.

In some townhomes, the property line barely extends past the walls, while in others, the lot may extend to encompass a large yard.

To make things more confusing, some communities will require the association to maintain certain portions that technically belong to the individual owners, while in others, the opposite is true.

The only way to know for sure who needs to repair your water line is to review your survey and community documents carefully.

Gary M. Singer is a Florida attorney and board-certified as an expert in real estate law by the Florida Bar. Send him questions online at www.sunsentinel.com/askpro or follow him on Twitter @GarySingerLaw.

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