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Alex Esquire
Alex Esquire, Attorney at Law
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 13063
Experience:  Experienced Licensed Attorney / Real Estate Law Mentor
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tenant responsible for bathtub overflow

Resolved Question:

My apartment complex turned off the water in my building for repairs. When I turned my tub on the water wasn't coming out. You can't tell by looking at my handles what is on or off...I can only tell by whether or not the water is running. When I left for work I was under the impression that the tub was turned off.(there was no stopper in the drain, the drain was left completely open) An hour later when the water came back on, it turned out that I was mistaken and had left the tub running. My apartment and the one below me were flooded. I am wondering: who is liable for the damages? My landlord and I both don't have insurance. My roommate has renter's insurance but I am not covered under her policy. Is there some law requiring that a tub should be capable of draining the water flow properly or having a working overflow mechanism in place? My landlord has made it clear that he wants me to pay for the damages, and the downstairs neighbors have been sending me letters asking me to
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Alex Esquire replied 3 years ago.
Hello. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will be glad to help you.

So your landlord wants you to pay for the damage to your apartment and the apartment below?

I am assuming the landlord owns both water damaged apartments?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Sorry it's a condo, and he only owns my condo. He wants me to pay for his damages (around $7,000) and the neighbor's landlord below has asked me to pay for her damages...or rather her insurance company has asked me to pay for her deposit and damages.
Expert:  Alex Esquire replied 3 years ago.
This is going to boil down to who is at fault for this flooding.

If the faucets were broken and were not functioning properly prior to this overflow and you have brought it to the attention of the landlord and he/she failed to fix it, then generally the landlord would be fount to be at fault.

Also there is no requirement that a bathtub needs to be installed with an overflow safety, as many older buildings/houses still have old fashioned bathtubs.

If the bathtub was clogged through no fault of your own, it would normally be the responsibility of the landlord to fix it, but you had to provide him a notice of this problem.

Unfortunately you might potentially be found to be at least partially liable for the damage and I would suggest that you consult with a local real estate attorney to protect your legal rights and interests.



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Customer: replied 3 years ago.
There is an overflow safety installed, the tub has drained properly in the past so there was no need for me to notify my landlord. But clearly it didn't drain properly in this instance. And the overflow saftey drain clearly isn't functioning properly or no flood would have occured, but again this was never an issue in the past because I have never left the tub running in the past....I only use it as a shower, I don't take baths. The drain is able to handle the water from a shower (lower pressure) but apparently not from a bath. Isn't my landlord responsible for having the water pressure adjested properly before I move in so that overflows like this can't occur?

In reguards to your answer, I understand already that is going to come down to who is at fault, and I should talk to a lawyer. I was hoping to find out if I am at fault and what the legal presedent is in these sorts of situations. Also, will being proactive and taking my landlord to small claims court for my personal damages help my cause...given if I take no action I am most likely going to be sued by him.
Expert:  Alex Esquire replied 3 years ago.
Ultimately it would have to be established in court whether the landlord had neglected his duty to maintain the plumbing in good working order.

Unfortunately your contributory negligence would be leaving the water running.

Generally if you take the landlord to the small claims court and prevail it would set a precedence (not controlling) for any future litigation in a higher court.

Of course if you lose in the small claims court action, it would not help you and will give your landlord more legal grounds to advance his claim.


If you are satisfied with my answer, I would appreciate if you would click on the accept button.
Please keep in mind if you already made a deposit or on a monthly subscription plan you will not incur any additional charges, but I will only be compensated for my time and effort only if you click on ACCEPT.
Bonus and Positive Feedback are always appreciated. Thank you and good luck!


Alex Esquire, Attorney at Law
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 13063
Experience: Experienced Licensed Attorney / Real Estate Law Mentor
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