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Do we need to pay for water damage that is the result of the landlord's neglect? Repairs, Maintenance

Discussion in 'Other Residential Landlord & Tenant Issues' started by Chris.M, Oct 22, 2019.

  1. Chris.M

    Chris.M Law Topic Starter New Member

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    My wife and I have been renting from a landlord for over a year, and on Memorial Day weekend this year (May 25-27), we were out of town, at a family member's house. The air conditioning unit backed up, and flooded most of the living room floor (linoleum wood panels), ruining the floor. After the technician they hired looked at the unit, they said that it was the result of an internal air filter not being replaced (someone would have to actually unscrew a panel on the unit to even find it), resulting in the dirt and dust pooling up the water condensation from the coils. They never told us about this internal filter, and actually told us that they never even knew it existed. We were required to change an air filter in the wall monthly, but it turns out (according to the technician) that this air filter actually lead to nothing, and it was the internal one that should have been cleaned monthly. I have a written statement from the previous tenant and can get a statement from the next door tenant (who previously had the exact same AC unit), that the landlord never told them of the internal filter needing replaced. When we came back Tuesday morning, we found the mess and immediately attempted to clean it up the best we could (we took pictures showing the effort). The landlord says that we are responsible for the damage of the sitting water that weekend, but we were not out longer than allowed in our contract, and none of the water would have even been there if it was not for their neglect to inform us of this filter needing replaced.

    We did have to sign an agreement when moving in stating "Tenant is responsible plumbing stoppages and cesspool fill-ups", "Tenant is responsible for the clean up of waste spills as a result of any stoppages" (more is on the paper, and can be included if needed, but those are the main statements of the plumbing violations). We also have a paper that was included when we signed up that states the cost to replace a tile/linoleum floor can be $300-$450, but they provided an estimate to our insurance company (who said we were not responsible but are still paying $1000 regardless due to a good Samaritan clause in our contract with them) that the floor damages would cost $1300. They are now charging us $300 through our deposit to make up the difference.

    They didn't inform us of this hidden filter which caused the leak, but are we still responsible?
     
  2. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    As I asked elsewhere - why did you leave the a/c running the entire time you were gone?
     
  3. Chris.M

    Chris.M Law Topic Starter New Member

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    We have two cats, and the thermostat was set to make sure it didn't get too hot, as temperatures were high at the time.
     
  4. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    This sounds like something the landlord's insurance should cover. I don't see negligence on your part that would make you responsible. If you have renter's insurance you might contact them and see what they have to say.
    If the landlord wants you to pay that may be a sign that the relationship is about to go downhill. You might start looking for a new place.
    You don't have to pay for the damage until a court orders you to. Just pay your rent as agreed.
     

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