Y'all are a bunch of wankers!

Maybe some of you guys can help

My roommates were woken up one night to water coming through the ceiling and light fixtures. Firemen were called and it appeared that the flood was caused by and overflowing toilet in the apartment above ours. Unfortunately, I was out of town and the flood destroyed my bed and my laptop ( ~ $3500 in damages). Our landlord said that the flood was caused by the negligence of the tenants above us, and because of that, the landlord is not responsible for damage to personal property ( which is stated in the lease). The tenants above my apartment are claiming that the flood is not their fault. Who is responsible?
Permalink Send private email dd 
January 30th, 2006 8:17pm
who cares?  get your insurance company to sort it out.
Permalink Send private email FullNameRequired 
January 30th, 2006 8:20pm
Wouldn't that be easy if I, or the kids upstairs had renters insurance.  I'm 22.... sometimes you have to learn the hardway. They're about 22 as well, so I'm hoping someone here might have a slight insight into who's lesson is a little harder to learn.
Permalink Send private email dd 
January 30th, 2006 8:23pm
you all lose.  unless someone specifically claims the guilt then you all have to go to court to figure it out.

congratulations :)  your first step to becoming an adult.

LESSON INSURANCE 101: Why not having it sucks more than getting it in the first place.

If you are determined to learn everything the hard way then im looking forward to hearing the post about STDs.
Permalink Send private email FullNameRequired 
January 30th, 2006 8:28pm
Or children...  learned that one the hard way!
Permalink Send private email Almost H. Anonymous 
January 30th, 2006 8:30pm

I already learned the lesson that sex is MUCH MORE FUN sans condom.
Permalink Send private email dd 
January 30th, 2006 8:34pm
excellent.  you are clearly an intelligent, clear thinking young man with a bright future.

congratulations :)
Permalink Send private email FullNameRequired 
January 30th, 2006 8:35pm
oh and to get the girlfriend on BC
Permalink Send private email dd 
January 30th, 2006 8:35pm
Sympathy. We've still got old papers and books smoked by a fire in the neighboring flat. We had insurance but they wriggled out of paying. When you're 22 they do line up to teach you, don't they.

Get a condom for your next laptop. And a tether.

BTW if you get a USB HD enclosure you could salvage your data.
Permalink trollop 
January 30th, 2006 9:04pm
Fortunately, I'm smart enough to keep all my data backed up, so I didn't lose any.

I brought the laptop to the shop since it was under warranty, but liquid damage isn't covered and its hard to explain a corroded motherboard on a fairly new computer. 

I was hoping that it would have only been a fried hard drive or something else that is covered.  Then I would have only had to worry  about my bed, which wouldn't have been worth the effort to try to get money back.
Permalink Send private email dd 
January 30th, 2006 9:20pm
If you truly feel it's worth $3500, then go visit an attorney. The visit will probably cost you $150, but the atty might be able to write a letter to the landlord and squeeze some money out. (or tell you point blank you're SOL)

Permalink Send private email Philo 
January 30th, 2006 9:23pm
HANG ON. Someone's telling porkies. Toilet's don't overflow unless

1. The cops arrive and evidence is being desperately and unsuccessfully flushed.

2. There's a seriously leaky cistern inlet valve AND either a blockage in either the cistern overflow (which should drain to the pan) or a blockage in the pan connection to the sewer stack. And nobody noticed (were they all out of town)?

3. It wasn't the toilet.

4. I don't understand your plumbing.
Permalink trollop 
January 30th, 2006 9:23pm
What if the standpipe leaks and the ring seal is shot?

Permalink Send private email Philo 
January 30th, 2006 9:24pm
5. Some dummy tried and tried and tried to flush something that wouldn't.

Oh dear. The simplest explanation somtimes is right.
Permalink trollop 
January 30th, 2006 9:27pm
6. Heh. I just fixed this one for my parents - there's a big rubber washer/grommet thing that connects the cistern outlet to to the pan. That perishes over time ...
Permalink trollop 
January 30th, 2006 9:30pm
Some of these could be building maintenance items BTW that could be sheeted home to Mr. Landlord.

But HANG ON yhe Fire Dept came? Must have been something major major.

So what was it exactly? You need to know before spending the $150 on renting teeth.
Permalink trollop 
January 30th, 2006 9:35pm
My roommates woke up to water coming out of the ceiling, out of light fixtures, so they called 311 or 411 or whichever number you call in nyc when you need attention but don't think it warrants 911.  The operator deemed it a hazard since light fixtures = electricity and electricity and water don't usually go well together. The firemen came, snaked the toilet, and it stopped.
The kids upstairs said they went to the bathroom, went to sleep, and the next thing they know, firemen are knocking on their door.

The thing is, I pretty much agree that it isn't the landlord's fault.  Its pretty tough to explain an overflowing toilet running for 6 hours in the middle of the night.

The landlord's position is that all damage to the apartment, they will take care of and we are not responsible for.  All personal damage, its between the kids upstairs and us.  They don't even take an active role in mediating or anything like that.

The kids upstairs are stating that the flood wasn't their fault, and they feel really bad about the damage so if we need any help with dealing with the landlord... blah blah blah

My roommates and I like our apartment. We want to stay for awhile, so we're not going to try and go after the landlord.

I don't want to be a dick about this and take the kids to court.  I just want to find some sort of legal precedence to show these kids so they will at least man up and take some sort of responsibility.

Now I know asking  ?off v2.0 isn't necessarily the best place to get info on this, but actually getting a response on a legal forum just sucks.
Permalink Send private email dd 
January 30th, 2006 9:43pm
You would have to prove that the kids upstairs were in some way responsible for what happened.

I can tell you from experience that the flapper valve system in American toilets is very prone to failure. It is pretty common for it not to seat properly and leave a constant flow of water into the toilet bowl. You only need the bowl to be blocked and you have a flood. I notice it when it happens because of the sound of the water running. Why didn't they?

But when it really comes down to it, I don't see what you can do except chalk it up to experience. Shit happens. Mostly it happens to other people and you read about it in the news, but sometimes it happens to you.
Permalink Send private email Ian Boys 
January 30th, 2006 9:55pm
The Landlord: The flood was caused by the blockage caused by the other party.

The Kids: the flood was caused by the failure of the shutoff cock in the cistern.

Actually you needed both failures to coexist and not be noticed over the time sufficient to affect you.

So in what order did the failures occur? Was there a maintenance request outstanding for a leaky inlet to the cistern? Should there have been one? Who fixes what? etc .. etc ..
Permalink trollop 
January 30th, 2006 10:52pm
I think the landlord's take is something to the extent of, "Clogged toilets happen, but to not recognize that a toilet has been running for 6 hours is negligence."

To get more in depth,  there are 4 people that live in the apartment above ours: 2 guys and 2 girls.  They have two bathrooms which they predictably made 1 "guys" and 1 "girls".  The girls take on the whole situation was that it was the boys bathroom that had the flood, so its not their problem.  Evidently, one of the guys was on vacation when this happened, so they're putting the blame solely on one kid.

So three of the roommates have not gotten involved, and its the one kid who refuses to take any blame.  I honestly feel bad for him.  How many people actually wait till a toilet stops flushing, and his roommates aren't helping him out on this at all.  None the less, its my stuff that got damaged, and I'm none too pleased that no one has taken responsibility.

What I'm hoping for is some sort of proof so that I can go them and say, "Hey, if you guys don't start budging a bit, we will take you to small claims, and it won't be just the one kid, it will be whomever is on the lease."  I think that would at least put pressure on the kid from his roommates to start compromising a bit, or, if he's lucky, have them help out.
Permalink Send private email dd 
January 30th, 2006 11:27pm
Why should his roommate help him at all? I wouldn't pay for damage to my neighbour's property that is caused by my roommate. Good luck getting the kid to pay.
Permalink Wills 
January 30th, 2006 11:41pm
This happened to me in 99. In Brooklyn. Except I was the guy on the top apartment. Went to work like normal (the toilet emptied fine after my morning needs). Came home 10 hours later, my downstairs neighbors ceiling had fallen in onto her living room.

Was I responsible for the toilet blocking up during those ten hours? No. Toilets are supposed to work without being monitored. Unless the fire department or whoever can show that it was blocked up in abnormal use (like their obese cat was in there), the landloard is responsible for the toilet. He's skillfully pitted the two tenants against each other. I'd talk to Housing Authority and get the other tenant on your side. (The landlord is most likely liable for damages even if he says he's not. Never believe landlords or thieves, if you can ever tell the difference.)

No one ever asked me to pay for damage, or even thought about it as far as I gather (and the tenant below was a lawyer). The building was old and 'my' ceiling had water damage from the roof above itself.
Permalink bring in da punk 
January 30th, 2006 11:59pm
That's unreasonable. A bloke uses the john and goes to bed. 6 hours' sleep is NOT unreasonable. *I* don't get up to check the pan's not overflowing overnight and I can't see why the landlord or you should expect him to.

Even with one shared bathroom and more people in the flat 6 hours between visits is quite possible so I think the landlord is having you on by denying his cistern's major contribution to the problem.

Still, if you want to stay ...

Did I mention how floorwastes can benefit bathrooms - and folks downstairs? On my first visit to London I put the plug in the bath and went downstairs to my room directly underneath and forgot I was running a bath until the water came down the roomlight flex and exploded the bulb (That's why that room was always given to new tenants). A floorwaste would have handled that. I was astounded there wasn't one.
Permalink trollop 
January 31st, 2006 12:07am
Also, living in NYC teaches you to sleep through anything. I wouldn't have been awoken by the sound of gentle water dribbling away. The explanation will be totally believable to a civil jury of fellow NYers.
Permalink bring in da punk 
January 31st, 2006 12:10am
I was responding to dd's post.

Good point BringInDaPunk!
Permalink trollop 
January 31st, 2006 12:12am
Btw, dd, if you're such a high roller that your laptop and your bed cost $3500 (I'm older than you by 12 years and mine cost half that), you're responsible party here: should have spent the $150/year on renter's insurance.
Permalink bring in da punk 
January 31st, 2006 12:25am
BringInDaPunk,  Although I don't see the correlation between being a high roller and being responsible, you're right, i fucked up, i should of have had renters insurance ( lesson learned ).  And thank you, although it not necessarily what i wanted to hear, you did give personal insight into the situation.

The truth is i don't really have the option of going after the landlord because: a. our lease is up in about 3 months,  b. all my roommates ( there's 5 of us) really like the place and want to stay, and c. i had the good fortune of being the only one with personal damage ( I'm guessing this has something to do with having the closest room to the plumbing).  The money is not worth dicking over my friends.

My only hope is that the kids above us are questioning who's fault the toilet overflowing is, not the actual damage.  This means that landlord does have the responsibility (at least to themselves) to have documentation stating that it is in fact the kids fault.  This sort of info is needed, I'm guessing, when informing someone that they aren't getting back their security.  This sort off forces the hand of the landlord to help us out while saving their own ass.
Permalink Send private email dd 
January 31st, 2006 12:51am
dd, I was just noogieing you with the high roller comment.

It sucks having the ceiling drip or fall on you. (As I said, my whole building sucked and my own apartment's ceiling flaked off over the course my stay. I still find crumbs of drywall among my stuff.)

If you wanna persue it, I'd see what the Housing Authority (I think that's what they're called in NYC) or rent.net/tenant.net (there's a NYC renter-focused website who'se URL is something like that) has to say about it.

Obviously your landlord is turning your desire to stay in your current apartment into fear against antagonizing him. You can't be evicted for taking your landlord to Housing Court, but lease renewal is trickier. You could always persue damages *after* you resign the lease in a couple months.

I can't imagine it's too great an apartment with a soggy ceiling (even after it has dried, the drywall, paint on your ceiling is prob. damaged for good). Did the landlord redo your ceiling yet? Did they fix the toilet upstairs? Is the landlord charging the tenant upstairs for the repairs? If not, then he is clearly taking responsibility for the accident.

good luck.
Permalink bring in da punk 
January 31st, 2006 9:52am

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