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PatN217

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Posts: 1
Reply with quote  #1 
Was notified Thanksgiving evening that tenant had been noticing house was very humid for last two weeks to include interior windows/mirrors/glass gathering condensate.  He even brought in a dehumidifier that was filling up every day or two to deal with it.  I inspected the property today (day after Thanksgiving) to find three water pipe leaks in the crawlspace due to a rodent chewing through them.  I immediately had the pipes repaired and a mold remediation survey conducted along with notification to my insurance company.  The ball is up in the air whether or not they will cover anything.  

I don't have a big problem covering the water pipe repairs however had the tenant reported the high humidity when it first started, I could have made repairs to the piping and eliminated the monumental mold growth and damage to wood framing within the house.  This leads me to think I should make the tenant responsible for the cost of repairs since they would not have existed had I been able to act two weeks prior.  Thanks for the thoughts and insight!
OHlandlord

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Posts: 3,761
Reply with quote  #2 
You don't say where in the country you are or what the weather has been like the last two weeks.  You also don't say how long the tenant has lived there.  If you live in an area that is normally humid this time of year, or have had several rains the last two weeks, the tenant may not have known it wasn't normal, especially if he was new to the unit or previously lived out of the area.  (There are areas where it wouldn't be so unusual to have windows fog up after a hard rain.)  Do you know how much the tenant has been home lately?  Many people (especially in retail) have to work long hours in the weeks leading up to Black Friday.  A lot of merchandise to put out and price.  So he may not have been home much to notice exactly how bad it was.

The leaks were in the crawlspace.  If he couldn't see or hear them, he may not have known why it was so humid.  He did try to compensate by bringing in a dehumidifier (a lot of tenants wouldn't even have done that).   Since you can't prove he had knowledge of an actual problem, I think it may be hard to charge the tenant for damages - especially those that he didn't cause and couldn't see.
LLinVA

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Posts: 356
Reply with quote  #3 
It sounds like they were reasonable and even tried a simple fix (which you yourself may have recommended if they hadn't tried a dehumidifier yet, of course not with hindsight being 20/20). You also neglected to check the pipes yourself before anything happened, that's not the tenant's fault. I would say just be happy it was only two weeks. 

At the very least, I don't think there is any legal liability for the tenant or justification in bugging them about it. Old pipes leak, it was caught in two weeks, he's not hassling you for the rodents being so bad they caused a leak, hopefully your insurance will take care of it.
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