What can we do?

S - posted on 05/19/2010 ( 10 moms have responded )

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I know this isn't directly mommy related but it does affect my daughter.



A month ago I reported a leak in my daughter's closet. The apartment complex sent out maintenance and he just looked at it and said it was a leak from upstairs "duh". He went up stairts did something and then came back and said it was fixed. Yesterday I heard a dripping in her room and discovered a MASSIVE water spot in the ceiling and down the walls of the closet. All of my daughters clothes are wet, boxes are soaked thru (we're talking wedding stuff, books, a brand new high chair) etc. Another contractor came out and said he needed to put down something to prevent mold and that the carpet would have to be replaced. I am FURIOUS!!! Yes, clothes can be washed but I refuse to use other equipment that's never even been opened but it completely soaked thru box and all. I've taken photos to indicate the damage to the best of my abiity, unfortunately I'm running into the issue of the water drying but I can still show the spots where water has been sitting. My husband called the complex and they said they would "call corporate to see IF they could do anything about it". WTF..... my property was damaged and I refuse to pay 500 out of pocket to file a claim thru our renter's insurance. I don't feel we should have to pay anything it is not our error!

Right now the room is unusable because of the smell and chemicals the contractor put down, the leasing office claims it takes 3-5 days to let the drywall dry before anyone can come into fix anything and all the stuff from the closet is all over the room trying to dry. All that means that we are paying for a two bedroom apt and only have use of one room. Plus we can not take our daughter in her own room because of the smell and the potential for mold (she is a micropreemie with a weakened immune system)



How do i file a formal complaint? Is there somewhere I can find a formal complaint letter to send to BOTH the complex and its corporate office.



How do i recoup the deductible if i am forced to file a claim thru my renter's insurance?



Exactly how long should I wait for something like this to be resolved.

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Kate CP - posted on 05/19/2010

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That thing to prevent mold WILL NOT work and you should probably move. I had the same problem when I was in an apartment and I got sick from all the chemicals they used to prevent the mold, which showed up anyway. Contact your city code enforcement and ask them to come out and inspect the domicile. They will tell you whether or not it's up to code and then notify the apartment complex of what needs to be fixed. However, I would contact a lawyer at the same time and look into breaking your lease. They are obviously not holding up their end of the contract.

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honestly, it sounds alot like what we went through at the last apartment complex we lived in... only we went through it with a lack of hot water.... in the 2 years we were there the hot water tanks broke no fewer than 6 or 7 times.. leaving us without hot water for at least a full day each time... id finally had enough when my daughter has strep throat and we had no hot water for 4 days. and NO one from the apt. place would return our calls. .... i called the local HUD number, filed a complaint with the city contacted an lawyer erc.... long story short we were lucky enough to get approved to buy a house .... so we did, and i broke our lease. which they tried to charge us 1600$ for. i called and complained again and we only had to pay 266$ to cover our rent up til the new tenants moved in... .. just keep a record of everything and every call you make to them about it... i still say you need to call corporate yourself and complain to someone or at least email them and send the pictures as well... good luck!

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try googling your local or states renters rights ... it varies from state to state... but, since it sounds like they are working at a reasonable pace to repair the leak i wouldnt try to go that route unless more than a few weeks have passed and nothing has happened. YOU should call corporate and complain to them tell them the whole story... tell them that your stuff was ruined you cant use the room your daughters health risks etc... they SHOULD give you free or reduced rent depending on how much you pay a month to make up for not using that room... as far as your stuff goes.... check your lease to see if there is something in it about your possesions being damaged by maint. issues.... if there is the complex is off the hook.. if there isnt, then by all means id ask them what they plan on doing about your stuff....

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Katarina - posted on 05/19/2010

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Another situation we had was with snow. We had a terrible winter and I was 5 months pregnant. They plowed our parking lot once and salted it twice. The snow was up to my knees(I'm 5'1) and was just terrbile. The entire parking lot was like an ice rink, even when the tenants shoveled it(which we shouldn't of had to, it's the landlords job). I wasn't getting anywhere with the office staff, so I called corporate and told them that if I slip on the ice rink out side, I'm suing the company for all it's worth. The man was very apoligetic and said he didn't want anything to happen to me, my unborn baby or anyone else and would call the office right away. The office had then called me and said they were doing things as fast as possible and only had so much staff and they had to ensure that the office parking lot was cleared for potential renters and their staff. I was livid and told them if they didn't plow it by morning I'd be hiring someone myself and fronting them the bill. Needless to say, they did it withing 15minutes.

It is well within your rights to ask for things to be done in a timely mater, if not speak to a manager and say if things aren't done within X time then I will hire someone myself and you can pay the bill. If agreed, get him to sign a contract saying so.

Katarina - posted on 05/19/2010

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We had a similar problem with water damage in our suite! We noticed buys were coming of of some lose ends of grout in the bathroom. We contacted the office and they said the suite next to ours had bedbugs and they may be the issue(law states that when one apartment has bedbugs all within a certain distance must be fumigated as well, they didn't do this or even let us know). So, we had to clean everything, pull everything away from the walls and when the bug guy got there and looked at them, they weren't bed bugs. He said that they were water mold bugs and that there had to be some water damage behind the tile work in the shower. We let the office staff know and they didn't seem to bothered by it. We then wrote them a letter telling them we would be breaking our lease 2 months early and would forfit our damage deposit($400). My son came 4 weeks early and we broke our lease even earlier then we thought. My son spent 1 night in that apartment and we moved out, there was no way I would subject my son to possible mold, or if they did "feel" like fixing it, construction.

Rebecca - posted on 05/19/2010

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There is always a rental board. This is where you would get you deposit back if you were to move. They should be placing you in another accommodations while this is taking place. Ok so it takes 3-5days to dry, that's all good and fine but you are all still breathing in the fumes from this! Do not let them get away with damaging your property and not paying you for it. So what you rent, you still have rights and you property was damaged by another unit which they rent...their problem not yours. If you decide to press charges...which i see in the future happening here, make it very clear you are suing for damage and the cost of lawyers and anything incurred while the case is open. Call their head office and ask someone from there to come and look for themselves. Tell them you will call everyday until someone comes to look. they'll get there pretty soon if you're always calling, trust me. Like Heather said it doesn't sound as if they are taking weeks to get to see the problems and stuff so i would wait to see what can be done with the issue itself but they do however owe you for your belongings and another room until it can be fixed. If anything they shouldn't charge you rent until it's all fixed. Tell them you wont pay rent for the next month because the damage that was done and also let them know you wont pay rent for every week they are in your home. So if they have already been there a week and it takes another 5 days to dry, deduct 2 weeks off you rent for July...June should already be free in my opinion.

S - posted on 05/19/2010

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Thank you ladies for your responses. I however do not feel they are handling the issue in a timely manner. Mopping up sitting water from upstairs in Mid April does not solve the issue in my apartment. They didn't try to seal the crack, fix the wall or replaster. This is now a second issue because of their unwillingness to fix the first

Kristy - posted on 05/19/2010

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Contact an attorney. Most offer free consults. If you have an documentation of your first complaint of the water leakage, take it with you, or if the maintence person gave you something to sign showing he had come to see it. Anything you have. Check with the upstairs neighbor to see if they gave her any paperwork when they came and fixed her leak. if you don't have anything in writing, that's okay, but anything that you might have, take it to an attorney.



take pictures of each individual item that is damaged or ruined. label the pictures 1, 2, 3.. etc. Research each item to determine the value. if you have receipts, great, if not, go on line and fine the item's retail value and make a list. You should be able to come up with total cost of property damage.

An attorney will probably start by writting a letter to the property owner asking for replacement value of your items, plus some compensation for your time and aggrivation. your rent should be reduced as well for the time time that you are unable to use that portion of the home.

The attorney will probably start out with a letter asking you be reinbursed for your damaged items, as well as any other compensation he determines fit. and the letter will give them a certain number of days, usually 10 to respond, and tell them if no response is received a lawsuit will be filed. Usually that prompts them to pay. And the letter won't cost you more then $100 to send, you don't have to retain the attorney..

I'd start there and see.

With the increased risk to you daughter, I would request that they move you to another unit. Regardless of what they are doing to manage the situation, mold is really dangerous.

Tracy - posted on 05/19/2010

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You can send a letter of complaint with all the documentation certified to both the office and the corporate office. Check with your city to see if there is a tenants counsel and/or apartment association and see if they can help you get resolution. They can also help you better understand your rights as a renter.

That said, do give the complex some time to make this right. It sounds like they are trying to work on it. Do they have blowers to help dry the water? It does take a few days, especially since the drywall is wet. I'd say give them 5 days, weekends included due to the potential health risks.

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