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LawTalk
LawTalk, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 36102
Experience:  I have handled Real Estate and Landlord Tenant matters for more than two decades.
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I rent a condo. The upstairs unit had a water leak while the

Customer Question

I rent a condo. The upstairs unit had a water leak while the unit was being renovated. It was bad. I had to move out of my unit for 2+ months while repairs were done to my unit. I had renters insurance but still had to pay $1000 deductible plus the inconvenience of not being at home. Can I sue the owner of the unit and what should I ask for?
Thank you
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  LawTalk replied 1 year ago.

Good afternoon,

I'm Doug, and I'm very sorry to hear of your situation. My goal is to provide you with excellent service today. In order to give you a clear and concise answer, I will need some additional information about the circumstances, please.

1. What caused the water leak while the upstairs unit was being renovated?

2. I presume you are referring to suing the owner of the upstairs unit, and not your landlord, when you mention suing?

Doug

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The leak was caused when the plumber was doing repairs/renovations to the unit.I am referring to suing the upstairs owner.
Expert:  LawTalk replied 1 year ago.

Good afternoon,

Thanks for the clarification.

You have told me when the leak occurred but not necessarily what caused it. Are you suggesting that the plumber did something that caused the leak/flooding, and if so what was that thing the plumber did or did not do?

Doug

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I don't know what the plumber did but he was unable to find the cut off valve to turn the water off.
Expert:  LawTalk replied 1 year ago.

Alright, thanks, ***** ***** explains the issue.

The plumber was clearly negligent for opening up a pressurized water pipe/fixture without first confirming where the water shut-off valve was for that fixture as well as the main water shit off valve for the whole unit. And because the plumber was the agent of the property/unit owner and working at the owner's direction, the owner is legally liable for the negligence of the plumber under the legal theory of Respondeat Superior.

As a consequence, you may sue both the plumber and the upstairs owner for the damages that have been done to your property----both those covered by the deductible and those covered by the insurance company.

One very important thing to be aware of is that only one suit may be filed against the owner and or plumber and because you used insurance, your insurance company is subrogated to your right to sue to the extent that they paid for damages. This means that both you and the insurance company may legally sue the plumber/owner. So, before you file suit, be absolutely sure to give notice to your insurance company written notice of your intent to file suit and invite them to retain an attorney to join you in your suit---or to give you permission to sue on their behalf to collect the damages that they are owed---in addition to your $1000 deductible that you are entitled to collect back.

You may reply back to me using the Reply link and I will be happy to continue to assist you until I am able to address your concerns, to your satisfaction.

Please be so kind as to rate my service to you. That is the only way I am credited for assisting you.

I wish you and yours the best this holiday season,

Doug

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
This doesn't really answer my question. I want to send a letter to the owner before hiring an attorney. What should I ask for?
Expert:  LawTalk replied 1 year ago.

Good afternoon,

I'm sorry if I misunderstood what you wanted. I thought that your question was: Can I sue the owner of the unit and what should I ask for?

As for a letter, yes, of course you can send a demand letter before you sue. And I don't believe that you will need an attorney for your suit as you can sue in small claims court without the need and expense of having to retain an attorney to file a relatively straight forward case.

In your letter you should ask for your $1,000 deductible to be paid directly to you. Do coordinate with your insurance company and let them know what you are planning to do so you don't accidentally infringe on their rights. By example, I mean that of you settle with the owner for your $1000 and you sign a release of all claims document on payment of the $1000, then your insurance company would be prohibited from suing independently---because they only can sue based on a claim that you legally have. So keep your carrier in the loop.

Please keep in mind that, even though you have already paid your deposit money over to JustAnswer, until you rate me highly for my service, I will not be paid for having assisted you with your questions.

You may of course reply back to me and I will be happy to continue to assist you further.

I wish you well,

Doug

Expert:  LawTalk replied 1 year ago.

Good afternoon,

I'd like to propose something that may be of interest to you. If you would like, for a nominal charge I can offer you a phone conversation as opposed to continuing in this question and answer thread. Many customers find that a call is much more productive in terms of getting their questions answered. I will make that offer to you after I get this posted to your question thread. All you need do is accept the offer if you would like me to call. Let me know if you don't want a call and I can continue here.

If I have already answered your questions please rate my service to you as that is the only way that I am compensated for helping you.

Thanks in advance,

Doug

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