Apartment flooding action
September 19, 2005 1:09 PM   Subscribe

What should I expect a landlord to do for me when my apartment constantly floods?

My wife and I moved into a new apartment in July. We moved for job related reasons. We moved into a first floor apartment (after living for a while in a second floor apartment we decided the convenience value for the first floor was higher). I have converted the second bedroom into my office and now am trying to work from home full time.

Unfortunately we've been plagued with problems. We've had two separate leaks from the above stairs bathroom. One was just an overflowing toilet bowel (yuck) and was easily fixed. The other was an intermittant flood caused by the bath overflow, the apartment management failed to find the leak and we probably had 6 or so separate leaking incidents. The leak was above the bath drain so it really wasn't too big of a deal.

A third leak occured in our walk-in closet was caused by a worker hooking up a hose incorrectly (wtf?) outside our apartment.

Now the fourth flood occurred today. The neighbours upstairs hooked up their new washing machine incorrectly and it flooded their kitchen causing large amounts of water to leak into our apartment. Luckily I was at home at the time and managed to prevent damage to any of our possessions (I know those empty Rubbermaid tubs would come in handy).

The question is, what should I expect the owners/management of the apartment complex to do for us? We really don't want to move again (moving is a horrible experience!) but neither do we want to stay in an apartment with such careless neighbours living above us or such incompetent apartment management? What should I expect and what forms of recourse do I possess?
posted by schwa to Home & Garden (6 answers total)
South Carolina Bar Association pamphlet on Tenants' Rights.
posted by footnote at 1:35 PM on September 19, 2005

What does your lease say?
posted by mischief at 2:32 PM on September 19, 2005

Have you discussed your frustration and the inconvenience with the management? Assuming you have not I would suggest you do and ask them what remedy they offer in these situations--at a miniumum I would think they would do an immediate clean up, immediately replace/repair any property/equipment that is theirs and repair any damage--I also think they should discount the rent for the days of inconvenience. I would suggest you carry renters insurance as they are not likely to replace personal property--if they are not cooperative you will probably need to contact your local tenants rights organization or an attorney--if they remain uncooperative you could also establish an escrow account where you would deposit your rent ( or a portion) until the issues are reasonably managed--good luck--
posted by rmhsinc at 5:54 PM on September 19, 2005

"Have you discussed your frustration and the inconvenience with the management?"

For that matter, have you told the management of every leak? In writing? If not, you yourselves may have already violated your lease.
posted by mischief at 7:11 PM on September 19, 2005

Best answer: I rented a house that had a leaky roof. Here was my course of action (which worked!). After informing the landlord on more than one occasion of the problem, I wrote a letter and sent it certified mail. Schwa, email me (in my proflie) for a copy of the letter. It was very persuasive. Basically, it detailed the course of events, with dates of when I had placed phone calls, etc. It detailed what I expected to be done, which included clean-up, repair of the house, compensation for damaged items. We had further problems because the leak caused mold to form in the walls. So, I also asked to have a mold specialist come and assess the damage and remediate the problem. I threatened to withhold a portion of the rent (comprable to the percentage of unusable space in the house due to water damage). The landlord's lawyer phoned me and we worked out a solution. It was clear that the lawyer knew that the landlord's had been negligent (they knew that the roof needed replacing). My housemates and I got everything we asked for. BTW, this was in San Francisco, which has very strong tenants' rights.
posted by picklebird at 6:27 AM on September 20, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks for all the help.

To make things even more bizarre the apartment management told our upstairs neighbours to try the washing machine again to try and find the exact cause of the leak. Unfortunately no one actually supervised the test and the first thing i knew water was flooding through our ceiling again. This time a lot worse and the water reached our kitchen.

Go figure.

Anyway the apartment management is offering to relocate us to another apartment in their complex or to allow us to break our lease without penalty. I am writing that letter now...
posted by schwa at 5:50 PM on September 20, 2005

« Older Xanga blog 'next/previous' date query   |   movin' on up. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.