Early yesterday morning, I came home from work. Jes was still in bed, which is not unusual as she's a late sleeper.
But, when I took my work clothes off to go to bed, I noticed something warm and wet on the carpet. My initial thought was that the dog took a piss on the carpet and I stepped in it. Since she is a chihuahua, it couldn't have been piss. It was too large an area.
Checking around, I noticed more wet spots here and there, but minor. We thought that the numbskull (literally) who lives above us let her sink or bathtub overflow and it leaked into my apartment (it had happened before). I was exhausted from work and fell asleep.
A few hours later (around 10:00 a.m.), I got up and noticed that the carpet was even wetter, and with warm spots. I knew then that a hot water pipe broke inside the concrete floor. It happened in my mother's apartment about a week or so after she died. So, I immediately notified the manager. I tried again to get some sleep after moving some belongings away from the wet areas. A maintenance worker from the building's management company, Beverly Hills Properties, came around 11:00 and inspected the apartment and took photographs. He confirmed that it was a hot water pipe inside of the floor.
At 12:55, the manager left a voice mail message saying that the repairer will be arriving at 8:00 the next morning and the water would be shut off that night at 9:00.
Around 2:00, the carpet was even more saturated and the bathroom floor was wet and the floor of the kitchen was beginning to get wet on one end. The wet areas were getting bigger and spreading.
It felt like I was aboard the R.M.S. Titanic where one could see the water creeping up towards the passengers.
After a couple of hours, we heard nothing more from the manager. We called her and she said the supervisor of the management company said that it will take six hours to get someone out. She acted very lackadaisical about the whole thing. We told her that this was an emergency situation and it cannot wait. The apartment was getting flooded and is unlivable. Finally, a half hour later, we got the okay to stay at a hotel and that a crew will be over early in the morning. The building's hot water was to be shut off that night at 9:30, according to a note the managers left on all of the building's tenants. They were only allowing one night in a hotel.
Well, I have news for them. This will take more than one night to make the place habitable again and, by law, they have to put us up in a hotel until the apartment is actually habitable. I was a property insurance claims adjuster, so I know what has to be done and what the law requires. I've handled many claims involving water damage and besides a hotel room, additional living expenses are also claimable (this includes the cost of food over and above what is normal per day). If the management company balks, they will have one heck of a lawsuit awaiting them!
Negligence and liability comes into play as the management did not:
- immediately shut off the building's water, but put out a notice that the water would be shut off ten hours later (9:30 PM)
- immediately call in an emergency repairer in the early stages of the leak (during the time the Beverly Hills Properties worker confirmed the leak at about 11:00 a.m. (had they got someone there immediately, the damage would have been mitigated)
- immediately contact a company like SERVEPRO to clean, treat and restore damaged property
So, in the morning, I get to look forward to getting the carpet and padding removed and the concrete floor will be drilled and dug up to repair the pipe. Following all this comes the hassle of getting a new carpet, padding and painting. I also will have to itemize any damaged property a the claim against the building's insurer. Well, at least I'll be finally getting a new carpet after living there for 16 years!
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