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Alex J. Esq.
Alex J. Esq., Attorney at Law
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 16710
Experience:  Attorney experienced in Landlord-Tenant Law.
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Please, I noticed a water leak after discovery of flooring

Customer Question

Please, I noticed a water leak after discovery of flooring discoloration and adjoining hard beginning to cup. I notified landlord of the leaking hot water heater 4-5 days after the discovery. He is stating in letter form that I should have notified him sooner before any damage occurred. And because of not notifying him sooner I may have to pay for any repairs due to the leaking hot water heater. I don't own the hot water heater nor do I repair them.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  Alex J. Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hello. My name is ***** *****

Thank you for your question.

I will be happy to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.

Did you tell the landlord that you noticed the leaking hot water 4-5 days after you discovered the leak?

Why did you wait so long before notifying the landlord and shutting off water to prevent further damage from the leak?

How extensive is the water damage at this point? Is there any estimate of the damages?

Do you have renter's insurance?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Do you think 4-5 days is too long to report a leaking faucet?
Yes I told him that I noticed the cupping and discoloration 4-5 days earlier.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have renters insurance, but don't know if it covers this sort of thing.
Expert:  Alex J. Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your follow up.

Yes. Generally, any water leak should be reported to the landlord right away and the water should be shut off to prevent further water damage.

Also, renter's insurance in most cases would cover similar damage, but it might be subject to a deductible (if there is deductible).

I wish you the best of luck!

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The damage occurred several days or even months before I noticed the problem. How can I be responsible for an aging water heater. It takes a long time for a hard wood floor to cup and be visible. It also takes a long period of time to create discoloring in a vinyl floor.
Expert:  Alex J. Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your follow up.

I cannot comment on your specific case, but the tenant does have the duty to report any water leaked that is discovered by the tenant right away and also tenant has to take immediate action to mitigate damages, such as shutting off water, until the leak is repaired.

So, generally, it would be up to the judge to decide if the tenant contributed to the extent of the damage by not timely reporting it, if such issue is litigated in court and is not resolved between the tenant / landlord and their insurance company.

Generally, the determination by the judge would be based on all evidence and testimony presented in court by both tenant and landlord and also any expert witnesses, such as licensed plumbers / contractors.

Generally, it is a good idea to report the issue to the renter's insurance company and to let the insurance companies negotiate a resolution of this unfortunate issue.

I wish you the best of luck!

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