Isa landlord responsible to replace items damaged by a bathroom leak that they failed to repair?

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Isa landlord responsible to replace items damaged by a bathroom leak that they failed to repair?

About 2 weeks ago our bathroom ceiling started leaking water. We notified the apartment office 3 times within 2 weeks. They did nothing. Last Friday I noticed my books and bookcase again the wall next to the bathroom were wet and moldy. The leak is getting fixed now but they said they weren’t going to replace my stuff because “mold take a long time to form and the leak was probably there for a while” I think its negligence on their part for not fixing it right away when we told them. They are claiming that we never told them. Are they responsible?

Asked on June 27, 2011 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The landlord might be liable. If you told the landlord about the leak, a failure to fix it may be considered negligence, or unreasonable carelessness, in regards to a duty, maintence of the apartment, which the landlord had. The issues are:

1) As the landlord implied, did the damage occur before the landlord had notice of the leak? They are not responsible for repairs they do not in fact know of or reasonably would not have some way of knowing of.

2) If you knew there was a leak there, were you also negligent in leaving books, etc. by it? If you were, that neglience of yours could reduce the landlord's liability.

So in theory, they are liable. In practice, the exact circumstances will determine.


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