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Apartment owner B, claims a leak from apartment owner A above, supposedly damaged a very small portion of B's hallway floor. Owner A offered to replace the hallway floor.

Instead owner B insists that owner A must replace entire flooring in the entire apartment since B claims the new portion of the floor in the hallway, will not match 100% cosmetically with the rest of the undamaged apartment floor.

Can owner B sue for damages to replace all of the flooring in the entire apartment even though only a very small isolated portion was damaged? And if so, what are the chances of B winning?

Jurisdiction: US, Florida

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  • The answer may be different in different jurisdictions. You are more likely to get an answer correct for a specific jurisdiction if you mention the one you are interested in. That would mean the country, and for federal countries such as the US, Canada, and India, the province or state. For some issues local law will matter greatly, such as landlord/tenant issues, but I don't think that would be true for this question. Sep 17 at 18:05
  • Thank you @DavidSiegel for the comment, just added jurisdiction as per your suggestion.
    – AlexVPerl
    Sep 17 at 18:15
  • you use the wording "Apartment owner." Typically in the US an apartment dweller is a lessee, not the owner. My experience with home insurance claims is that the repairs will generally stop at a door threshold. Water damage in your bedroom will probably not get all your carpeting or wood flooring on that level replaced.
    – Tiger Guy
    Sep 17 at 19:43
  • It may be objectively impossible to replace just part of the floor. Laminated flooring is an example: not only will be impossible to buy the same visual style after some years but the companies also love to change even the interlocking mechanisms, so the planks don't even physically fit together.
    – Fizz
    Sep 18 at 14:00
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Both outcomes are possible. A's insurance company would resist full replacement, so B would probably have to sue and prove that full replacement was necessary. Since the basic idea behind compensation is making the person whole after having been harmed, and what is the harm in a more limited repair job? The jury would contemplate all of the details regarding B's apartment. Then it matters just how crisp the floor was originally, and how aesthetically offensive a mere 99% match would be. It would not hinge solely on B's self-serving statement that he would not accept less than 100% match. But the award would not be limited to "the cheapest possible repair".

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  • Thank you for your reply. Sorry, I should have used different wording, by liability I didn't mean with regard to insurance, it was in reference to small claims court damages whether they could sue for damages covering entire apartment floor when only a very small & isolated part was allegedly damaged. I corrected the question to reflect this, please take a look.
    – AlexVPerl
    Sep 17 at 21:57
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    @AlexVPerl whether either party is insured is irrelevant- the process is the same either way just with an insurer standing in for the insured.
    – Dale M
    Sep 17 at 21:59

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