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Christopher B, Esq.
Christopher B, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 2677
Experience:  associate attorney
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I live in massachusetts.last night a cold water pipe below

Customer Question

Hi. I live in massachusetts.last night a cold water pipe below the sink and before the shutoff burst. We were home and took immediate action. We informed the desk attendant. It took 40 minutes for them to turn off the water causing thousands of dollars of damage to our unitand the five floors who pays???? below me. We inadvertently did not have insurance on our unit. Can you help me?
Trent
Submitted: 1 month ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Christopher B, Esq. replied 1 month ago.

My name is ***** ***** I will be helping you today. Thank you for your question and thank you for using justanswer.com. Give me a bit and I will draft you an answer to your question.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Thank you sir
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
We did nothing to cause the pipe to break and it was before the shutoff under the sink. It was not possible to shut off the water in the unit.
Expert:  Christopher B, Esq. replied 1 month ago.

First and foremost, you must read your lease for any related language. This should be your first step in any dispute with the landlord. Landlords must repair the pipes and plumbing in a rental unit and maintain them in good shape. They are obligated to do so under at least two separate, though related, theories: 1) The lease requires it; and 2) The "implied warranty of habitability." If the landlord violated a duty to maintain the plumbing, he may also have been legally negligent. If the cause of the leak was negligence, for example, carelessness in maintaining or fixing the pipes, the landlord may well be responsible for any damages or losses caused by the negligence. Negligence may be established if the tenant can demonstrate a pattern of having told the landlord of a non-working plumbing system or worsening leak, which the landlord then effectively ignored. If the landlord didn’t fulfill his duty to keep the plumbing in good order, he could be responsible for paying for any losses, which would include property damage (like in your case, if the tenant’s belongings are damaged) or a heightened water bill. Since you acted with diligence and let the landlord know immediately, you fulfilled your duty to inform and the landlord cannot use this defense. So to answer your question in MA, the landlord is only responsible if by their action or omission, they caused the damage. Since it took them 40 minutes (which is a pretty long time) to turn off the water, these COULD fit this but it ultimately will be up to the court. There is no fine line and it is really up to the circumstances and this would be a grey area. There is no exact answer to your question according to the law although you gave a decent argument that the landlord should be responsible for the damage.

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Customer: replied 1 month ago.
It is a condominium. Is the answer still essentially the same?
Expert:  Christopher B, Esq. replied 1 month ago.

If you own the condominium and do not rent then yes it changes the answer. Only a landlord would be liable for this damage. Any association that helps run a group of condos would not necessarily be liable unless you can prove negligence. Since the association would not be liable to fix the plumbing (you are if you own it) unless there is an agreement otherwise, you would have to eat these costs since you unfortunately do not have insurance.

Expert:  Christopher B, Esq. replied 1 month ago.

Was that the answer you were looking for? Please give me some feedback if not as I want to satisfy my customers. If you are satisfied, please rate my answer as this is the only way I will be compensated for my time by the site. See "rate an answer" on the following link for how to do so: http://ww2.justanswer.com/help/how-do-i-rate-answer-hl

Thank you in advance.

Expert:  Christopher B, Esq. replied 1 month ago.

Just checking back in, do you have any further questions?