Neighbor cause water damage to my condo - help!
I own a condo in New Jersey. The buildings have four units each, two high. I own the downstairs unit. The units are all privately owned and governed by a homeowners association. Though I own my unit as a primary residence, my upstairs neighbors are renters.
While I was out of town and a friend was condo-sitting, the upstairs neighbors' washing machine (or pipes or hoses) somehow overflowed to the degree that water leaked through my ceiling and created a 2 square foot area of damage to the ceiling - drywall peeling back and cracking, water stain, etc.
The friend staying there notified the upstairs neighbors and they said they'd take care of it - apparently, this meant just turning off the washing machine.
The association is not responsible for the inside of the buildings. My homeowners insurance will cover it - if the cost is above the deductable. According to them, however, the upstairs tenants and/or landlord/owner are responsible for the cost of my repairs.
The owner of that unit won't return my phone calls. The renters are, frankly, complete scumbags whom I've had problems with before - I've had to call the cops on them for noise, etc.
Any advice? Should I just call a lawyer?