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Barrister
Barrister, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 35773
Experience:  16 yrs practice, Civil, Criminal, Domestic, Realtor, Landlord 26 yrs
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I will. I had a tenant who in Feb 2016 flushed his private

Customer Question

I will. I had a tenant who in Feb 2016 flushed his private toilet in my basement in law studio.
he left the studio and for 3 1/2 hours the toilet ran and continued to fill and over fill till h I had at least 6!or 7 inches of water in my studio. In a below ground level toilet, there is a pump, not a sump pump,another kind that grinds and pushes waste and water up to ground level to connect with the sewer. It was too much water forbto long, and eventually the pump could not keep up, and burnt out. The water continued to flood the basement. Bathroom and fixtures only 4 years old.
The damage to
The studio was 16,000. And 3000.came out of my pocket.
The insurance covered everything but the 3000. There was never any definitive reason why this happened. At the time, I was too worried about the entire situation to assign any blame. ( I also was not at home st the time.)
This tenant is now leaving and wants his security deposit back. I explained my reasoning for keeping it. He wants it back with interest like normal. What should I say or do.
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Barrister replied 3 months ago.

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney and will try my best to help with your situation. There may be a slight delay in my responses as I research statutes or ordinances and type out an answer or reply, but rest assured, I am working on your question.

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I hate to say it, but I would opine that you can't keep the deposit.. Without a definitive reason for why the commode continued to run, it would be presumed to be a mechanical defect, likely with the flapper not closing. Since this is a mechanical failure, this is the landlord's responsibility to maintain as the tenant had no way to know it would malfunction by flushing the toilet as they normally do.

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I think that if the tenant sues for their deposit, the judge would rule in their favor as this is just an unfortunate incident that a landlord just has to bear the cost of repairing..

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As an aside, in addition to being an attorney, I have also been a landlord for over 26 years...

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I am very sorry that I don’t have better news, but please understand that I do have an ethical and professional obligation to provide customers with legally correct answers based on my knowledge and experience, even when I know the answer doesn’t make the customer happy...

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thanks

Barrister