1. Free Legal Help, Legal Forms and Lawyers. TheLaw.com has been providing free legal assistance online since 1995. Our most popular destinations for legal help are below. It only takes a minute to join our legal community!

    Dismiss Notice

Is city responsible for water damage due to service not fully shutoff?

Discussion in 'Homeowners, Fire, Casualty' started by waterdamage, Mar 30, 2015.

  1. waterdamage

    waterdamage Law Topic Starter New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Due to a rental property being empty over the winter, I contacted the city to have the water service shut off. I went to the house yesterday to do some work to get it ready to sell. I walked in and the kitchen floor was water logged with a small trickle coming from the city water meter under the sink. It turns out that when the city turned off the water service at the shut-off valve at the street, they did not turn it off 100%. A small percentage was still flowing thru and ended up freezing at the meter under the kitchen sink. It went unnoticed for a couple months destroying the kitchen floor( laminate and hardwood subfloor), cabinet and some drywall near the area.

    I called the city and they sent someone out who confirmed the shut-off valve at the street was not fully closed. He said it wasn’t our fault and to file a claim with the city. Called the city this morning and they said they would have someone inspect it and go from there. They called back shortly after and said that they do not guarantee full shut-off when they shut the valve to discontinue service, so they won’t pay for anything. I could not find anything stating this in there water and sewer regulations.

    The proper steps were not taken to winterize the house(dumb, I know), but if the water was shut off as expected, the amount of damage done, if any, would have been limited to burst pipes and any damages caused by the small amount of water in the lines. Not a constant leak that did much more damage.

    What are my options, call insurance and let them go after the city or should I contact a lawyer?
     
  2. Betty3

    Betty3 Super Moderator

    Messages:
    6,967
    Likes Received:
    290
    Trophy Points:
    83

    You can talk to your homeowners ins. co. & see what they say. It's possible you "might" end up needing a lawyer.

    Also, please post your question only once - thanks.
     
  3. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

    Messages:
    11,366
    Likes Received:
    1,966
    Trophy Points:
    113

    If you have flood insurance that is the way to go. I don't think you would get the city to take responsibility, especially when you didn't take any steps yourself.... Primarily the shutoff valve on the property or any winterization precautions.
     
  4. waterdamage

    waterdamage Law Topic Starter New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Thanks, that is the next step. Sorry for the double post, accidentally submitted it twice when I wasn't sure the first one went thru.
     
  5. waterdamage

    waterdamage Law Topic Starter New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I understand what you are saying, but the only compensation I would seek would be for the floor, cabinet and drywall since that would have been avoided if the water was shut off. I would take responsibility for any burst pipes.
     
  6. Betty3

    Betty3 Super Moderator

    Messages:
    6,967
    Likes Received:
    290
    Trophy Points:
    83

    You need to go ahead & talk to your homeowners ins. co.

    Re the double post: actually, currently, others are having posts show up twice also so it probably wasn't your fault.
     
  7. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    9,171
    Likes Received:
    622
    Trophy Points:
    113

    I'd agree with this. At the very least, the city will claim that you are at least guilty of contributory negligence - that you helped significantly to create the situation by not taking reasonable measures. Nor did you mitigate damages when you knew or should have known there was a problem. It's not the city's fault that you had the premises empty for months without anyone entering. In the end, any attempt to obtain some award may be greatly exceeded by the cost of the effort, including retaining an attorney and the time and effort of litigation.
     

Share This Page