Gas leak in tenants unit

6 Replies

I have a duplex in Stockton CA and just rented to a young lady who complained of the smell of gas.  My husband went to check all the pipes and tightened all the valves and found that one was loose. The tenant came back and said that she still smelled gas and asked if she could have PGE come out, and we agreed.  A week later she calls and said that the smell of gas was even more prominent and PGE came out and found that there were 2 items leaking and fixed them.  When he went to check the pressure to make sure that there was no more leaks, he found that it was still showing something was leaking but and asked if there were any additional furnaces.  My husband stated there was under the house but it had all been capped off.  PGE guy informed my husband that there could be a leak from the furnace pipes under the house and that he would have to turn the gas off until it could be located and fix, which at that time, they could come back out and turn it back on after they check to confirm that it is no longer leaking.  

My husband is trying to figure out the worse case scenario.  If we have to go under the house and replace this and the price is more than we can afford and it is landlord condemned, meaning, we can't afford to do the repairs timely therefore, can we ask the tenant to move? what do we have to do for the tenant?  how can we avoid a lawsuit since the PGE man encouraged her to go to the doctors and that all the problems he fixed were fines (oh by the way, the items he fixed, were approved by the city as we had to get permits to install the things he found problems with).


Cheron Rice

You need to talk to a plumber ASAP.  They will be able to tell you what the game plan should be.  Since it's the summertime, you have just a little bit of wiggle room as far as 'livable conditions' are concerned, but still not much.  Without a professional assessment of the situation, all you have i the worst-case fear.

On a related note, is your husband a plumber?  How much room is there under the house? crawlspace? something less?

We have contacted the plumber to come out and give an assessment.  Thank goodness they are able to come out today.  As for the space under the house, it is a crawl space and no, unfortunately my husband is not a plumber but he knows some things about plumbing but because PGE put all the unfortunate information in the tenants head, we decided to call out a plumber to fix the problem so that there is no issues about us not putting our due diligence into solving the problem.

I guess my question is more or less is what if the tenant decides to sue us since the tenant stated to the PGE guy that she was having headaches and he told her to go to the doctors and that everything that he fixed were fine-able issues.  Can a tenant sue and if we have to ask her to move what is our responsibility?

Can you tell my husband is a worse case scenario individual.  Well, the plumber is here now, I guess we will have to wait for his assessment.  

Quite honestly, it's pretty difficult for the tenant to successfully sue you without documented evidence that you are a horrible person to them.

As you may know, that won't necessarily prevent them from suing you ... but still.

The fact that you are acting on this so quickly makes me think it's unlikely that you would be sued.

Well the plumber came out today and it wasn't as bad as we thought it would be. The gas leak has been stopped and the tenant and has no more problems. She still has things to say but ultimately the problem has been fixed. Thank you for your comment it has been much appreciated hope that all things going forward will work out and the tenant will not decide to sue so in the meantime we will just sit back and wait.

You guys did everything correct, once aware of the problem you investigated in a timely manner and made the corrections promptly. Negligence would be doing nothing after being made aware.

Thank you all for your input with this.  My nerves are at ease now with all your input.  Thanks Bigger Pockets posters.

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