Friday, June 14, 2019

Deluge Resolution

Last week we had our day in court.

In case you missed it, in late January, on a Saturday morning at 1:15, I was awoken by water pouring through my ceiling and onto my bed. (I explained it pretty well in that blog post.) Drying out the ceiling and putting the room back together has taken a while. (I gave periodic updates here, here, and here.)

What we have been waiting on is figuring out who's going to pay for it. Landlady has been fighting with the upstairs neighbors since it happened.

The people upstairs rent the place from the woman who used to live upstairs, but had recently moved to an assisted living facility. The woman's daughter hired a management company to oversee the rental stuff.

When the water incident happened, landlady contacted the management company immediately after the plumber left. (The plumber determined that the upstairs neighbors had to have overflowed something as he couldn't replicate the issue. He checked for a burst pipe and then if any of the fixtures in the upstairs bathroom were leaking. They weren't.)

The management company said the renters claimed not to know anything, so they were not at fault. He had no idea where the water came from, but it was not their responsibility.

Landlady went to the owner's daughter. She put her in touch with their insurance company. Insurance company said renters didn't do anything, so they wouldn't cover the issue.

And it's gone around and around for months. Landlady decided to sue. (I mentioned serving the owner the papers a couple weeks back.)

Small claims court is interesting. I learned a lot. Hopefully, I'll never need to use any of this knowledge again. But I figured I might as well jot it down in one place.

First of all, it turns out that "where else could the f***ing water have come from?" is a valid legal argument.

The owner of the unit upstairs did not appear in court. Instead, the management company and insurance company showed up. They said that since we couldn't prove the water pouring in was due to their tenants (the plumber only proved that it wasn't a burst pipe or a leaky faucet), they couldn't be held liable.

The judge disagreed. Once he determined that their bathroom is directly above my bedroom, he explained that the preponderance of evidence suggested that the only reasonable explanation was that something had happened in their bathroom. Putting the renters at fault.

So, the hole in my ceiling will soon be no more. But of course it'll take time before the insurance company pays out. (At least we now have a judgment. That should help, I hope.) And I'll have to move everything out of my room (I moved everything back in when it became apparent that it would be a while. It's been three months since I moved all my stuff back in.) It looks like we're in the home stretch.

As this post got huge, I'll save the lessons I learned for a future post. Because there were some particular things that I did not know before this whole thing. You may find it interesting as well.

28 comments:

  1. Well good to hear that you are finally getting some resolution to all of this. I've never been to small claims court, but getting people to admit to wrongdoing and getting them to open their wallets can be like pulling teeth. I'm glad that there's a judgment. It's just amazing that it takes something like court to find justice.

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  2. What a mess! I'm glad it's being taken care of, though.

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  3. That's a victory! Even if it will take a while. I'll have to remember that valid legal argument.

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  4. I'm so sorry it's been such an ordeal and glad you won this clearcut case.

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  5. the legal term for "where else could it have f---ing come from" is res ipsa loquitor. and I'm glad you prevailed.

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    1. I had no idea it had a Latin translation. Good to know :)

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  6. Ah, don't you love when the standard is "preponderance of evidence" instead of "beyond a reasonable doubt"? I'm definitely interested to see what you've learned from this ordeal.

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  7. I will find it interesting so I look forward to that post. I'm glad you guys won, but this went on way too long on their part not taking responsibility. Do they have to pay any court fees that incurred? Hopefully it will get fixed very quickly. Do you know the upstairs neighbors? Wonder if they'll end up having to pay the owners back for damages.

    betty

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  8. What a mess, and such a shame that you had to go through this. I hope this judgement can be enforced (I am no legal expert and, fortunately, have not had to resort to small claims court). Yes, I would love to read what you learned. Although we live in two different states, it will still be interesting.

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    1. Well, the insurance company already paid up (we got notification yesterday), so now it's on to book the guys to fix the ceiling.

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  9. I mean: 1+1...it's not as if a giant coat closet were directly over your bedroom. I wonder if the toilet had overflowed or something. That happened here once when we forgot to jiggle the handle. Water accumulated in the garage directly below.

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    1. When the owner lived there, there was a toilet issue. I had a drip that did get fixed quickly. But no, the plumber this time tried the toilet, the sink, the shower. Nothing.

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  10. What a relief! One less stress. I wonder what will happen to the tenants upstairs who denied everything - not going to look good for them!

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  11. I'm glad to hear you're getting some closure, finally! Sometimes we just have to point out common sense.

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  12. Hi Liz - I sincerely hope it happens soon and you can get your life back ... good luck - and I'm glad you're positive. Cheers Hilary

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  13. Yep..I am with the statement about where the hell else could the water come from!!! Apparently the renters thought that claiming nothing they did was the fault thinking they could get out of it or thinking that at the start your ladylady would give up..haha on their part! My guess, tub was left on. I have heard of that crap happening but I have yet to be one to do that. Now, mind you, I have done a lot of stupid things, that not being one! My issues usually happen in the kitchen, mostly forgetting I have something boiling on the stove. Now, I hate to say it but you think the issue is almost over, REPAIRS start now and I hope that those go smoothly for you. CRAP...now you have to that duct tape off the bed!!!

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    1. The duct tape seems to be holding, so it's staying!

      The repair company has a good reputation and was recommended by a neighbor who had similar work done. This is the easy part (although, I do have to remove everything from my room before they can do the job--ugh!).

      We think it was the sink left on, actually. It looks like it was stopped up. And we postulate that someone *ahem* may have passed out (alcohol or weed) and left the water running...

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    2. Yep, tub or sink unattended with water running can become a terrible issue as you well know now.

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  14. Glad to know it's going to be better!

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  15. Glad to see that there is finally a closure to the issue. These things can be quite agonising.

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  16. What a completely aggravating experience! I'm sorry you've had to deal with all of that.

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  17. Somehow I missed this one! Glad you're in the home stretch.

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    1. I write lots of blog posts. Easy to miss a few here and there.

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