AC leaked, caused flooring damage. Security Deposit?

15 Replies

I have a really good tenant, the AC in her unit broke; water leaked and caused some minor warping of the hardwood near the register.

My question is, she reported it when she said she noticed the flooring was warped. Should I deduct it from her security deposit? I’m almost certain she’ll stay another year or two.

She hasn’t asked to get the floor fixed, and not sure if I should chalk it up as fair wear and tear.


If damages were not caused by her, damages caused by failure of your equipment which you are responsible.  Can't deduct any of it from her security deposit.

You have a good tenant that you think would stay another year or two.  That is worth a LOT more than the flooring and she told you when she found it.  When she leaves you may want to start a Homeowner's insurance claim and have them put new floors in your place.  Make sure your policy is RCV, not ACV

You are responsible for damage caused by your AC unit.

If she made it worse by not telling you right away then she might be liable for a small portion of the damage.

I would just fix it for a good tenant.

@Mark Pijanowski my opinion is that if she didn’t cause the AC to break and reported it as soon as she noticed it despite it being late in the game, she did her part. Going after security may result in an unwanted battle. Sometimes it’s more profitable to just take the loss and progress.

Tenants will not usually notice leaks until they become a problem for them.  I install what I call "screechers," battery operated water alarms where it goes off like a smoke detector if water touches it.  I put them near the a/c pans, water heaters, laundry room if it's on second floor without a drain, etc.  You can get them in multi-packs on Amazon.  My tenant called me last summer stating an alarm was going off under her stairs, where the water heater is installed.  Turned out the pipe running from the street to the house had a pin-hole leak right before the interior shut-off valve.  I turned the water off from the street for the weekend, and the event caused only minor damage instead of major as that alarm bothered the tenant enough for her to call me early, not wait until water saturated everything enough for her to notice.   

I had a nearly new HVAC system damage new flooring because the condensate drain pipe plugged up (for an unknown reason) When I opened the closet the unit was in, it was full of water. I unplugged the line and it hasn't reoccurred. I never even considered that it could be a tenant responsibility. (water was getting under the laminate and it buckled up)

Devils advocate here: we have a lot of window AC units up north that tenants install. What if in this scenario it was the tenants AC unit? Would they then be responsible?

I train my tenants to always look for leaks.

Water leaks anywhere, tell me immediately. I hate water damage.

However, in this case, you may be able to fix the warpage by wetting the area again, and putting something flat and super heavy on that area to warp it back to normal.

Unless this is fake laminate?

Originally posted by @Mark F. :

Devils advocate here: we have a lot of window AC units up north that tenants install. What if in this scenario it was the tenants AC unit? Would they then be responsible?

 If it is the tenants AC unit they installed then they are responsible for damages.  

@Mark Ferguson , this is definitely a landlord issue and why we charge a profit on rent; to cover these types of expenses.

We had a water heater leak and warped out floors, similar situation.  We had to cover the expenses.

@Kenny Dahill and @Mark F. , we always ask the tenants if they have any special equipment they will be utilizing in our rentals.  Window units are common in the mid-west but we've had people who have medical or even light manufacturing equipment they use inside. 

They helps us be proactive and inform them any damages caused will be taken from security deposit.