Condominium owners face hurdles after Sandy

More than two months after the storm, repairs More than two months after the storm, repairs still haven't been completed in Donna Victory-Daut's two-story, three-bedroom home. (Jan. 9, 2013) Photo Credit: Newsday / Audrey C. Tiernan

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People living in storm-damaged condominiums face their own hurdles getting help after Sandy.

The condo associations that oversee such complexes can buy as much as $250,000 in flood coverage for each unit, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

However, that doesn't cover improvements residents make to floors, cabinets and other fixtures. The coverage only pays to restore units to their original condition.

"A lot of time, condo owners don't take out their own policy," since they believed the complex's insurance would fund any needed repairs, said Denis Miller, a Long Beach insurance agent.

At the Alhambra condo complex in Oceanside, only a "handful" of residents had their own flood insurance policies that cover upgrades, said John Wolf, owner of Alexander Wolf & Co. in Plainview, which manages the complex.

What's more, the common property of condo complexes -- such as boilers and electrical systems -- are considered the property of a business rather than a group of homeowners. As a result, such items are not eligible for FEMA grants of up to $31,900 that single-family homeowners can receive.

The Alhambra had nearly $6 million in flood insurance for the 108-unit complex, Wolf said. The total claim will likely add up to between $4 million and $5 million, which will fund repairs to boilers, interior electrical systems and units' walls, floors and lower cabinets, he said. Negotiations with the insurance company are under way, and it is not yet clear whether residents will need to pay out of pocket for costs not covered by insurance, Wolf said.

Donna Victory-Daut, 62, whose condo was flooded, said FEMA gave her a grant of about $15,000 for repairs that she estimates will cost nearly three times that amount.

If she cannot get enough funding, she said, "I might just have to walk away from the house."

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