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Flooding in VA apartment

Discussion in 'Commercial Landlord & Tenant Issues' started by hdlaw, Jan 4, 2017.

  1. hdlaw

    hdlaw Law Topic Starter Guest

    Jurisdiction:
    Virginia
    The apartment above me flooded causing my apartment to have a major leak a few days ago and there was water pouring out the ceiling vents in both bathrooms, the smoke detector, and light fixtures. They knocked out our ceilings and within less than 24 hours new drywall was installed. They did not check to see if any electrical systems to see if it was affected (my kitchen is right next to the bathroom on the same wall), the carpets were soaking wet, among other things. They are beyond slow on the repairs and continue to use MY personal belongings to vacuum drywall and clean the mess made.

    I want to either get this fixed correctly and quickly or cancel my lease. How should I proceed?
     
  2. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    You need to read your lease TODAY, read it completely.
    You must determine if an incident of this sort is specifically mentioned in your lease.
    Now that you know what your lease says, you approach your landlord or complex management.

    You ask the apartment management about responsibility for damages.

    If you wish, you can inquire if this incident ALONE, and its ensuing inconvenience are sufficient grounds for you to terminate your lease.

    You always start by discussing any problem with the other parties involved.

    Should that dialogue not be to your liking, your next response might be to talk to a few lawyers in your county.
     
  3. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    If you don't want them to use your personal belongings say, "Hey, don't use my stuff, bring your own." Then take it away from them.

    Proceed by developing some patience.

    You wrote "a few days ago." Meaning, it happened on or about the holiday weekend.

    These things don't get fixed with magic wands. Sometimes they take a week or two, sometimes longer depending on the extent of the damage.

    It's not going to get done any quicker than it's being done and you have absolutely no grounds to cancel your lease.

    You ARE living in the apartment, aren't you?

    By the way, do you have renters insurance?
     
    Michael Wechsler likes this.
  4. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

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    You may have grounds to cancel your lease but it's difficult when, as @adjusterjack says, you're living in the apartment. If the conditions were truly terrible that it forced you to evacuate the apartment then you might have more of a legitimate reason to terminate the lease. But since you're still there this seems to be a matter of damages and the question is who is ultimately responsible?

    What you describe might be a case where an upstairs neighbor leaves the bath running, it overflows and then leaks into the apartment below. As such the landlord may not be liable for damages but the tenant could be. And as raised above, this is a prime reason why people take out a renter's insurance policy.

    As to the apartment issues themselves, that would be covered under the lease. In addition to being fixed on a timely basis you'd probably be able to negotiate an abatement. But as also said above, you need to give the landlord reasonable time to perform the repairs. Given that it was a holiday weekend it would seem likely that the landlord is trying to fix the problem in a reasonably timely fashion. Good luck to you.
     

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