Can I sue my neighbor and tenant for water damage to my condo?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Can I sue my neighbor and tenant for water damage to my condo?

My neighbor who owns the unit above me had a dishwater malfunction “as she says” and flooded my unit. My tenants did not call me when this happened. As a result my bathroom, bedroom and laundry room walls are full of mold and the carpet has a big water stain, which I am sure has mold on the padding. My lease indicates the tenants must report immediately any damage done to my property, but since they neglected to call me, I had to just go down during an inspection to find all this damage myself. Can I sue both my neighbor that causes the leak and my tenant for not reporting this? And evict my tenants?

Asked on April 19, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Virginia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You should be able to sue your neighbor, since it was something under her control (her dishwasher) which caused the damage. If the problem was that the machine was defective or was installed improperly, she in turn may be able to sue the manufacturer or installer--but that's her concern, not yours.

You may be able to sue your tenants for not reporting the leak, at least for such portion of the damage as was caused or exacerbated by their failure to report (i.e. they are not responsible for the leak or for any damage that would have occured even with a prompt report). Not only have they evidently violated a  provison of their lease, but they also negligently (carelessly) caused damage to your property through their nonreport.

It is unlikely that you be able to evict tenants at this time. Even though they violated the lease, typically you cannot evict tenants for the first lease violation, but rather must given them a "notice to cease" telling them to not do that again--you can only take action if the problem then repeats.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption