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Phillips Esq.
Phillips Esq., Attorney-at-Law
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 18373
Experience:  B.A.; M.B.A.; J.D.
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Tenant received notice of possible water leak from the water

Resolved Question:

Tenant received notice of possible water leak from the water company on a Friday (4 days after their reading). Tenant notified landlord one week later on the following Friday of the notice received and thought they had heard water running. Landlord contacted a plumber and repairs were completed by Monday. Tenant received two very high water bills. First, the one that the meter reader noticed an excessive use of water and posted the notice. Second, the one including the time up to notifiying the landlord of the leak and the subsequent repair. Tenant is stating that landlord is responsible for the excessively high water bills and is requesting the landlord to deduct from their rent. Is the landlord responsible for the water bill in tenants name considering repairs were done in a timely manner after receving notification from tenant? Also, if there are foundation issues due to the tenant not notifying the landlord of the leak in a timely manner, who is responsible for that?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 7 years ago.
Tenant received notice of possible water leak from the water company on a Friday (4 days after their reading). Tenant notified landlord one week later on the following Friday of the notice received and thought they had heard water running. Landlord contacted a plumber and repairs were completed by Monday. Tenant received two very high water bills. First, the one that the meter reader noticed an excessive use of water and posted the notice. Second, the one including the time up to notifiying the landlord of the leak and the subsequent repair. Tenant is stating that landlord is responsible for the excessively high water bills and is requesting the landlord to deduct from their rent. Is the landlord responsible for the water bill in tenants name considering repairs were done in a timely manner after receving notification from tenant?

Response 1: Unfortunately yes but only to the extent that the water bill is excessive. Tenant needs to provide you with several bills so that you can see when the bill increased. You would only be responsible to pay the difference between the tenant's high bill due to the leak and the tenant's normal high bill without the leak.

Also, if there are foundation issues due to the tenant not notifying the landlord of the leak in a timely manner, who is responsible for that?


Response 2: Landlord is still responsible for the repair as the tenant did not cause the damage even though the tenant did not nofity the tenant immediately after noticing the problem. If the sitaution were reversed where theTenant gave the notice immediately but Landlord took a week or also to repair the problem, the Landlord's action would not be considered not timely. See Texas Property Code Title 8 Sections 92.056, 92.052(b) and 92.058.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Ok, I think I understand the point you are making. However, if the tenant had notified the landlord on the date the notice from the water company was posted on their door, the repair would have been complete a full week earlier therefore cutting down on the water consumption. That's where I'm getting stuck. Also, the tenant did not notify in writing but by a phone call. And this tenant did not provide any of the documented water bills until Feb 10, 2010 when the water leak occurred in Oct 2009. Bills were submitted with prior months rent to bring them current on rent less late fees. As of today, tenant has not paid March rent. Is it reasonable to request an adjustment to the water bills for the 7 day lag time in notifying landlord? Since the landlord would have assumed the liability had they not repaired the leak in a timely manner isn't the tenant liable for their non-timely notice?

 

 

Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 7 years ago.
Thank you for the additional information:

Ok, I think I understand the point you are making. However, if the tenant had notified the landlord on the date the notice from the water company was posted on their door, the repair would have been complete a full week earlier therefore cutting down on the water consumption. That's where I'm getting stuck. Also, the tenant did not notify in writing but by a phone call. And this tenant did not provide any of the documented water bills until Feb 10, 2010 when the water leak occurred in Oct 2009. Bills were submitted with prior months rent to bring them current on rent less late fees. As of today, tenant has not paid March rent. Is it reasonable to request an adjustment to the water bills for the 7 day lag time in notifying landlord?

Response 1: Yes, it is quite reasonable.

Since the landlord would have assumed the liability had they not repaired the leak in a timely manner isn't the tenant liable for their non-timely notice?


Response 2: This would really depend on the circumstances surrounding the notice--whether Tenant was home when the notice was posted on his door and if so, why the tenant did not inform the Landlord. The tenant may be held liable for any substantial water damage due to his negligence.
Phillips Esq. and 2 other Real Estate Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Ok, thanks for your time!

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