What to do if upon discovery of a water leak in the wall from the bathroom, I notified my landlord but he says I am responsible for the property damage?

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What to do if upon discovery of a water leak in the wall from the bathroom, I notified my landlord but he says I am responsible for the property damage?

Since the leak was in the wall, it went unnoticed for a while. As soon as it was noticed, I notified the landlord. A week later he came to “repair” it and I showed him how the bathroom floor was starting to rot. He fixed the leak and placed a heater in the wall to dry it out. He never repaired the bathroom floor. Now upon move out, he says I am responsible for the repair of the rotten bathroom floor. Is he responsible or am I?

Asked on August 10, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Oregon

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Unless a lease states otherwise, typically the landlord would be responsible for such a repair. That is assuming, however, that there was no negligence on the part of the tenant. For example, did they fail to report a leak when it first appeared? In your case, while the rot was developing for a period of time it was not noticeable since it started in the wall; as soon as it was visible to the naked eye you reported it. Therefore, there appears to be no negligence on your part. At this point, you should consult with an attorney that specializes in landlord-tnant matters (or a tenant's rights advocacy group, etc). You can go over the details of your case and they can then best advise as to how you should proceed.


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