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Am I Responsible for this ?

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Am I Responsible for this ?

Postby Tmarie288 » Thu Oct 03, 2019 3:45 pm

Hi I just have a question and wanted to get some opinions

I’m a tenant in a four family house. The other day my downstairs neighbor called us and asked if we were running water cause it was leaking into her apartment. My husband had just took a shower but was done and didn’t have any issues with draining. We called our landlord who got a plumber and the plumber knocked down the wall in our downstairs neighbors apartment where the leak was coming from. He couldn’t find anything wrong so he told our landlord we must have had an overflow of water somewhere and that’s what caused it.

We didn’t have any such think that was visible to us but now our landlord says we’re responsible for the cost of the plumber and fixing the wall of our neighbors apartment. There is no visible signs of an overflow so I’m confused how he could
Put this on us? We’re not sure what to do as we’re on a month to month lease with a baby coming, but we also don’t want to be taken advantage of.

Thoughts ?
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Re: Am I Responsible for this ?

Postby TenantNet » Thu Oct 03, 2019 4:32 pm

Plumber is speculating. They have no proof of anything. In our view, you are not responsible for this.

Of course the LL might give you a hard time if you're M2M, and might try to terminate your tenancy.
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Re: Am I Responsible for this ?

Postby Landlords Boy » Fri Oct 18, 2019 12:10 pm

Tmarie288 wrote:We called our landlord who got a plumber and the plumber knocked down the wall in our downstairs neighbors apartment where the leak was coming from. He couldn’t find anything wrong so he told our landlord we must have had an overflow of water somewhere and that’s what caused it.
Did you speak to this plumber or did you hear the report from the landlord?

We didn’t have any such think that was visible to us but now our landlord says we’re responsible for the cost of the plumber and fixing the wall of our neighbors apartment.
If it's leaking from your bathroom floor to the unit below why would you expect the leak to be visible to you?

There is no visible signs of an overflow so I’m confused how he could
Put this on us?
If the plumber is competent he will not just determine that the water didn't originate from faulty piping ("couldn't find anything wrong") but can likely point to a trail of damp showing where the water did originate from. One pic and that's not "speculation" anymore but fact.

We’re not sure what to do as we’re on a month to month lease with a baby coming, but we also don’t want to be taken advantage of.
Two things: one, if it's from excessive water on the bathroom floor then it's the drywall that needs repair, not the plumbing, so your LL may bill you for a drywall contractor as well. Two, these damages might be covered under your renters' insurance policy.
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Re: Am I Responsible for this ?

Postby TenantNet » Fri Oct 18, 2019 12:58 pm

LLBoy is wrong here. First, there is no indication that you caused the leak. A photo of a damp floor does not establish that, not would it be admissible in any proceeding. Chances are it would not be authenticated, i.e., when was it taken? By whom? How soon after you took a shower was it taken, and many other questions.

Other than the cost of the plumber, what damages were suffered by the LL or the tenant? Presumably your bathroom is above the tenant's bathroom, so I would think any water didn't damage the tenant's priceless whatever.

Showing damages is a needed part of any cause of action.

To coin the old phrase, "shit happens." Bathtubs overflow, shower curtains fail allowing water to pool on the floor. Most bathrooms have tile floors and walls (at least on the lower part of the walls). The reason is to repel any water. How long ago did the LL last grout the floor, if you remember. If the grout is solid, water that might pool from one shower's time simply won't leak and will likely dry on its own. Of course, if there is some pooling, then wipe it up ASAP.

Moreover, the LL would have to show negligence on your part. He can't because he wasn't in your bathroom, and I'm guessing this was a one-time event, not recurring.

A "report" from a plumber is not proof; it's an opinion. Chances are he said something like we don't see any evidence of a leak in the lower tenant's bathroom, so therefore it must be coming from above. If you need to, get your own plumber's opinion.

In short, the tenant owes nothing on this absent a showing of negligence. And we caution you to not bill it to your renter's insurance (if you have any) or let the LL try that.

As I said above, if you're M2M without a lease, you would have some exposure if the LL wants you out.
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Re: Am I Responsible for this ?

Postby Rigsby » Sat Oct 26, 2019 3:57 am

What's the worst thing that could happen if you bill something like this to your renter's insurance?
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Re: Am I Responsible for this ?

Postby TenantNet » Sat Oct 26, 2019 8:06 am

One doesn't bill something to insurance; a claim is made. One's rates could go up, or one could lose the insurance coverage. The point here is a) there's no indication anything the poster did caused the situation, and b) the tenant is not responsible for it. The only reason to consider capitulation is the lack of security with the lease. In our view, that's LL intimidation.
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