Fairness of Rent Voucher?
August 27, 2009 12:56 PM   Subscribe

Is $50 off of my next month's rent ($395 monthly) a fair rent voucher to compensate for a flooded bedroom, loss of the use of that room and sleeping on my futon for a week? I've had to do the same for 2-3 days twice in the past couple months too due to moisture and water seeping into the foundation of this basement apartment.
posted by franklen to Home & Garden (17 answers total)
how cheap is 395 compared to other properties in your area? If it is about standard price, then I would say:

Hell no, get your security deposit and leave before all of your furniture gets moldy. Or ask for a much more significant break (maybe 50%?)

If your place is dirt cheap compared tot he other options, than maybe it's something you have to deal with.
posted by Think_Long at 12:59 PM on August 27, 2009

It sounds small. You should complain and ask for more.

My ill-informed opinion (not legal advice) is that probably you "deserve" a big share of what you would legally receive for a partial or complete constructive eviction, which I suspect would be a somewhat larger share of your rent. I doubt this could be worth the cost of going to court, but maybe you can have a lawyer write up a short letter asking for more money. I have no idea how much that might cost.
posted by grobstein at 1:00 PM on August 27, 2009

Did any of your stuff get damaged during the flood? If so, no way.

This sounds like a problem that won't go away. You may want to take this opportunity to get the hell out of there.
posted by caveat at 1:02 PM on August 27, 2009

Is it fair to YOU? Since you're asking it sounds like it isn't.

I know if it were me in the situation, I would have demanded it be fixed after the first time, and would be looking for a new place to live after this 2nd time.
posted by ish__ at 1:08 PM on August 27, 2009

Could the owner have additionally collected a nice check from insurance?
posted by Postroad at 1:08 PM on August 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

should be abut 20-25 percent of your rent, as 1 week is 20-25 percent of the month. they're also liable for any of your stuff that got wet--either replacing or cleaning.
posted by lester at 1:15 PM on August 27, 2009

Nice 2 months of rent for free on the end of the lease woud be good also.
posted by Freedomboy at 1:16 PM on August 27, 2009

Depends on the jurisdiction, but damage to furniture or belongings is usually NOT the responsibility of the landlord. That's what renter's insurance is for.

And let's assume your bedroom is 50% of your living space, because you still have the living room, kitchen, bathroom. Then 1/2 of a week, which in turn is 1/4 of a month, works out to about 1/8 of a month. 1/8 of $395 is $50.

So the compensation is not great, but I think it is fair.
posted by randomstriker at 1:32 PM on August 27, 2009

I would probably look at other apartment options.

You might also consider what percentage of your space is unusable. If the square footage of your bedroom is 50% of the total square footage of the apartment, then 50% off the price would be reasonable.
posted by gregr at 1:32 PM on August 27, 2009

they're also liable for any of your stuff that got wet--either replacing or cleaning.

Um no they probably aren't. Every place I have lived has expected you to have renter's insurance to cover your stuff.

I had a somewhat similar situation a few years ago, and I asked for $100 at the time but my rent was more like $650. They said no first. Then the flooding happened again. I finally got the discount off the rent on a different apartment in the same complex since they would not let me break my lease, but I insisted they move to a new unit.

And although it sounds so great to "demand it be fixed and then move out if it happens again" sounds great, you probably have a lease and can't just stop paying rent without a ruling of inhabitable conditions (from a judge or building code agency).
Start documenting absolutely everything you can in case this gets any worse. I ended up talking with my local code agency.

If you can calculate the amount of space you are losing per day, both this time and the 2 times previous, and multiply that by your daily rate of $13. So if it is a third of your apartment, and you've lost use of it for 13 days (7 this time and 2-3 before) you get 169*1/3 = $56.33. You may want to adjust up a bit for "inconvenience". I'd ask for $60 minimum.
posted by soelo at 1:34 PM on August 27, 2009

I was in a similar situation where there was sewage/water flooding in my basement apartment. The landlord paid for one night in a motel room (all of the water had to be turned off). Then she discounted the rent by how many days it took her to get the apartment liveable again, which was my rent divided by 30 days times about 2 weeks. I thought this was pretty fair. Although the rest of the time I lived there, there was moisture seeping through the walls and that was pretty miserable and I didn't get compensated for that. Glad I don't live there anymore.

Request $100 off of your rent. $50 isn't enough.
posted by backwords at 1:48 PM on August 27, 2009

Good lord, when my apartment flooded I got free rent for two months because they had to completely rebuild the place. Flooding does major goddamned damage and makes your place uninhabitable due to mold issues. My roommate stayed in a hotel and they paid for her hotel (I had a friend to crash with) for that time. This is going to be serious shit even if it's a trickle of flood on a regular basis.

No, they won't do jack about your lost stuff. They packed up my nondamaged stuff for me and paid for it to be in storage for 2 months, but don't get me started on how they offered to put me in with their lawsuit and then gave me nothing. Yeah, learned that even if everything you own is cheap, renter's insurance is a good idea. And me the daughter of an insurance salesman :P
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:34 PM on August 27, 2009

You need to face up to the fact that you live in a shithole. Instead of wasting energy negotiating with your landlord about another $50, spend your time looking for a new place to live. Where you live is unhealthy. It's bad for you.

Document the damage, talk to your local tenancy authority, and get out of your lease.

For the record, I faced a similar situation a few years ago. We moved into a house with rotten carpets. It was fine when we viewed the place, but before we moved in the landlord shampooed the place and it just stank, as though there was something dead under the floor.

I freaked out, the landlord immediately started to install wooden floorboards, but I had had enough and demanded to be let out of my lease. The landlord relented, and we also got our damage deposit back.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:13 PM on August 27, 2009

what lester said
posted by matteo at 5:14 AM on August 28, 2009

Sorry no, not what lester said. 20-25 percent of your rent makes sense, but them being liable for your stuff does not make sense. Please don't tell the OP that unless you know for a fact that the place they live (profile says Syracuse but it could be a suburb) says the landlord has any kind of duty to protect the tenant's stuff.

Most places say the landlord has zero liability if their tenants' stuff gets damaged.

Don't trust that any "fixes" are permanent, either. If it were me (and when it was me) everything stored near the leak would be in plastic bins or otherwise protected from moisture as long as I lived there.
posted by soelo at 9:49 AM on August 28, 2009

ahem. if the landlord's negligence resulted in the damage of the tenant's property, then the landlord is liable for the damages. if the tenant has rental insurance, then the insurance company may opt to pursue damages.

in most cases, the liability of damages would be decided in civil court. if the op's property was damaged due to the negligence of the landlord, then he should request compensation for damaged property. i'm not a lawyer, but it seems to me that a local ordinance that prevented a tenant from seeking civil redress from a landlord for damaged property would be pretty fucked up.
posted by lester at 1:50 PM on August 28, 2009

So, it's not that they are liable, but that they may be held liable in court? And if the tenant doesn't have renter's insurance, it would have to be the tenant who brought them to court? And they would then have to explain to the judge why they still did not protect their stuff after the first two instances of flooding? To me that is different than saying they are liable.

I'm not saying they would never get reimbursed for damage by their landlord, but I'm just warning them not to assume that they will.
posted by soelo at 1:58 PM on August 28, 2009

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