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landlord responsibilities after a flood

Discussion in 'Commercial Landlord & Tenant Issues' started by Sascrunch, May 29, 2009.

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  1. Sascrunch

    Sascrunch Law Topic Starter New Member

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    My jurisdiction is: Denver County, Colorado

    I live in Colorado, and my apartment recently flooded, due to excessive rain and being below street level. The flood resulted in an inch of standing water on the carpet. How can I find out what my landlord's responsibilities are with regards to repairs and potential mold? Currently we aren't seeing eye to eye on the issue.

    Thank you.
     
  2. sfitz

    sfitz New Member

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    I can't imagine that it is the tenant's responsibility to pay for damages due to a rain event, unless you left the window open or something similar. Check with your state's consumer protection agency.
     
  3. Gail_in_Georgia

    Gail_in_Georgia Moderator

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    The issue of drying out or replacing the carpet would fall on the shoulders of the landlord. Their insurance should take care of at least some of this.

    The issue of any damages to personal property would fall on the shoulders of the tenant (since the landlord did not cause the flood). This is why is it always a good thing to carry renters insurance.

    Gail
     
  4. TexasLandlord

    TexasLandlord New Member

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    Not to hijack your thread, but I felt that this question was appropriate here.

    From the standpoint of a landlord in Texas, what is considered as diligence in repairing a property after a flood? I recently suffered a flood and immediately sent carpet contractor and another contractor who ran dehumidifiers. Everything appeared fine and we agreed to monitor the situation.

    Several weeks after the repairs, I was noticed that they felt that there were issues with the property. I immediately sent a water/mold/restoration company to perform an inspection. They provided recommendations and I immediately contracted them.

    The tenants are alleging that I have not acted in a reasonable and diligent manner and wants to terminate the lease. The licensed contractors are certifying that the property is safe after the work has been completed. Please advise.

    Thanks in advance.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2009
  5. Gail_in_Georgia

    Gail_in_Georgia Moderator

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    Your post implies that all concerns from your tenants were responded to immediately. If so, what did they expect you would do? Put on your Superman costume and fly over 10 seconds after they contacted you?

    I'm assuming you have documentation regarding when your tenants contacted you with their concerns, when you responded, when the various contractors/inspections provided their services and finally that the property is now safe to live in, correct?

    Gail
     
  6. sfitz

    sfitz New Member

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    The tenants might have felt (and, I can't be sure as you were not very specific in your statement of their concerns) that you were stalling in getting the repairs done. They don't see what happens between the time they contact you and someone comes out to fix or look at the problem. If the tenants are acting in good faith and not just being opportunistic in getting out of a lease, then explain to them that your intention was to have the repairs done promptly and give them a timeline.
     
  7. TexasLandlord

    TexasLandlord New Member

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    Sorry for not being clear enough. All of tenant's phone calls, emails, and text messages were responded to immediately. They are not disputing that and have acknowledged this. I have records of all communications and work done. However, their accusation is that the repairs made were not initially done by a certified flood, water, mold expert.

    Although I did not hire a licensed company, I did hire licensed AC technicians, commercial carpet cleaners, and a general contractor. When they felt that this was insufficient and notified me of health concerns, I immediately hired a licensed company to inspect and work. The work is almost complete and now they are demanding to terminate the lease. The licensed company has certified to me that the house will be safe upon completion. However, the tenants are still worrisome and I explained that I cannot repair their mental blocks. Please advise. Thanks again.
     
  8. Gail_in_Georgia

    Gail_in_Georgia Moderator

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    Frankly, what's the easiest thing for you to do?

    The fear of mold (overblown as this has become) scares the willies out of a number of tenants. Black mold is actually very rare but that doesn't stop some folks who have a bit a mildew in their bathroom from suddenly developing headaches, breathing problems, dizziness, migraines and pretty much everything else from dandruff to toenail fungus.

    If you believe they'll hound you to death regarding "health issues" that, after a thorough inspection, simply don't exist from this flooding then by all means consider letting them break their lease and be done with them. You'll sleep better in the long run.

    You do not, however, owe them any financial renumeration (should they request this) in regards to finding another place for them to move to, moving expenses, etc.. Make certain that they understand that and that your allowing them to break their lease in no way is a confirmation that your rental is unsafe to live in.


    Gail
     
  9. TexasLandlord

    TexasLandlord New Member

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    Thank you for the quick response.

    I strongly felt that if the work was performed by a licensed company and that the property is safe, they should honor their lease. I explained to them that it is my duty to repair the property but not their psychology. I also explained to them that they could move out at their own discretion and I will do my best to mitigate damages. However, they believe that this isn't fair and instead are demanding that I provide a pro-rata refund and allow them to break the lease.

    Bottom line, I understand that I could simply argree to allow them to break the lease and avoid a headache. However, I also felt that I had a strong case and did not want to be bullied by unreasonable tenants. My main purpose here is to get a third person's objective on how I should proceed and whether I have done so in a diligent and reasonable manner thus far. Thanks again!
     
  10. Gail_in_Georgia

    Gail_in_Georgia Moderator

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    Legally you have covered all the bases in terms of responding to the repair issue at hand in an adequate and professional manner. There is no legal reason for you to grant their demands to break the lease and certainly no reason to provide a pro-rated refund.

    Should they wish to sue (unlikely) you also have the benefit that Texas is generally a landlord friendly state.

    Gail
     
  11. TexasLandlord

    TexasLandlord New Member

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    Thanks for all the advice. I will proceed as I agreed with them and if they do choose to abandon the property, I will enforce my rights per the lease agreement.

    Thanks.
     

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