Robert Lamoureux | Condo association lags on maintenance

Robert Lamoureux
Robert Lamoureux


Hi, I live in a condo that I’m confident is not being cared for properly and I need some information, please, on what to ask for with regard to better maintenance not only from our board of directors, but then also with the management company.  

Those guys are supposed to be versed and professional about guiding the board, but it seems that is lacking with whom we currently have as our property manager.  

We have an underground parking garage that floods with the rains. After this last rain, many of us were caught either unable to get in or out, due to the amount of water standing in our garage. I’m not sure the exact problem, whether drains are clogged or something else, but can you give me some information on what to look for and what to ask, so I can hopefully be part of the solution? Thank you ahead of time, for any insight you may have.  

— Lee S. 


Lee, this is a common problem when routine annual maintenance is not done to area drains and sump pumps. Generally, underground garages have sump pumps, which evacuate the water out to drains and relieve the underground areas of this issue. Sump pump pits should be cleaned out annually, along with performing maintenance on the pumps themselves.  

At the time of maintenance, anything that the technician discovers is not functioning properly or finds damage to, this would be reported and, upon authorization, repaired in preparation for the rains.  

The sump pumps are not the only possible cause for the flooding, though. It could be that and/or the area drains could be clogged. These, like the sump pumps, should have annual maintenance performed on them. Any number of things can get into these drains — I could go on with what we’ve found in them. Annually, they should be cleared with water jetting, to ensure a clear path for the water. This drain cleaning includes all of the area drains at the property, including the pool drains. It’s only at this time, after rains, that the issues show themselves, but if you have an annual maintenance scheduled for them, you will likely never have an emergency call over flooding.  

Many properties such as yours will have their sewer lines overhead in the garage. I also always highly recommend annual jetting of the sewer lines, as this can be a catastrophic emergency when they back up. When this maintenance is done, the technicians are also inspecting the exterior condition of the pipes and will note any areas that are in need of replacing. As with anything else, it is always better to work offensively without emergency, than defensively during a major backup or leak.  

I hope this information helps, best of luck. 

Robert Lamoureux has more than 40 years of experience as a general contractor, with separate licenses in electrical and plumbing contracting. He owns IMS Construction Inc. in Valencia. His opinions are his own, not necessarily those of The Signal. Opinions expressed in this column are not meant to replace the recommendations of a qualified contractor after that contractor has made a thorough visual inspection. Email questions to Robert at [email protected].    

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