I had a situation with a rental property I own where there was a sump failure. The sump is located in the garage. With pump failure, the sump overflows and water runs down the couple of steps that lead from the garage into the basement and runs under the door. The tenants called the management company's emergency number (during normal business hours) several times before someone answered and informed them water was coming in the basement. At the time, water was in the laundry room (tile), bathroom (tile), and they stated that the carpet in the family room was wet.
The management company informed me still during business hours what was happening. We were having a LOT of rain, and they thought the water was coming in from under the garage door. I VM and emailed them that the water was not coming from under the garage door, and the only time water would come into the basement would be if the sump pump failed, it was an emergency situation, and to please call the plumber ASAP on an emergency call. Well, the plumber did not come until the next morning and still did not put a new or temporary pump in. The water damage team that came later in the afternoon/early evening installed a temporary sump pump, which means that the water continued to come into the basement throughout the night and all during the next day (we had a LOT of rain), resulting in standing water throughout the entire 1600 sf of finished basement. The bill from the water damage team is just under 9K. New carpet throughout around 3K.
IMO, the management company could have mitigated much of this damage if had they acted as I stated they should, that this is an emergency situation and warrants an emergency call to the plumber. At the time they were alerted, only the family room carpet was wet, with no standing water, and the other rooms that had water in them were tiled. I think they management company should pay for half of the damages and new carpet. Does this sound reasonable under the circumstances?
I don't think they will be amenable to paying $6,000 to help cover these costs. I do have sump insurance, but it only covers 5K (the max they would allow), and I don't think the damage would have been nearly as extensive nor should the fact that I have some insurance relieve the management company of it's failure to act in a timely manner. The water extraction services pumped thousands of gallons of water and had multiple dehumidifiers and fans, which, along with removing the old carpet and padding, were the bulk of their charges. Otherwise, the management company has handled my two rentals without issue, and I like the rental team, but I believe they dropped the ball in this case.
Does it seem reasonable that they pay for half of the damage? If that doesn't seem fair, how much of the 12k should they be liable for?
No, it does not, To have response within 24 hours and you have insurance for $5000.
Sometimes people can pull the carpet and get the pad out and save their furniture and
get the carpet off the cement. Sometimes people can try to help their situation out
until the professionals get there.
Property management company can not put a gun to any ones head to make them go out!
How soon was your "water damage team" there ? What was their hourly rate?
What is your water damage team company's name?
Come on man, a judge would laugh at you! As I am also.
Just be fair and up front.
I worry about the water that is going up your sheet rock that will turn black in 5-10 days!
That is my worry for you.
your insurance will cover all of this if handled professionally!
Sorry this happened to you.
And in the future having a 2nd backup pump connected and working in the hole might be a good idea because the pumps do have a service life (fail).
That might buy you some time to replace the bad one.
I suggest that you read your contract with the property management company to see how its obligations are defined. It seems strange that the company has an emergency number if the response was the same as it would have been for a non-emergency.
David, thanks for your response. The tenant use a shop vac and did do other things to try to stop the water from coming in, but nothing they did stopped the water. Obviously, they got out of there what they could.
There is not one thing I am not being fair or upfront about??? I was informed of a situation where the person at the management company stated in her opinion was water was coming from under the garage door. I immediately responded stating that is not the case, this is an emergency that needs immediate attention ASAP. Although I stated such, the company did not respond by sending someone to look at the sump but did send someone immediately to look at the garage door seal, but they did not look at the sump because they were not asked to. No plumber was dispatched (more than one on 24-hour call for them) nor was the emergency water extraction team called (which, yes, it is their business to respond immediately). The next morning the plumber, who was only told to look at the sump and give an estimate to replace it, showed up and said it had failed and needed to be replaced and gave an estimate. Later that afternoon, the water extraction team was called (local and respected, not sure why their name matters?), and yes, they responded immediately. That is the first time the overflowing sump had been addressed. I was not informed at any point that no one had yet addressed this. My email stated that this was an emergency and to get someone immediately and that is the last I heard of this. Although it appears as if no one was even called after I asked her to, if she had informed me that not one person with 24-hour service that they have on call had been able to respond, my husband would have showed up and installed a temp sump. Up until that point, I thought the issue was treated as an emergency as stated from the first moment I was informed and that the water coming in had been addressed.
Being in Phoenix, I am not sure how familiar you are with sump riders, but no, insurance companies in this area absolutely will not cover all the costs. If you have a sump, you may pay separately for a sump rider, and there is a definite cap allowed and you get an amount that they tell you. If their adjuster comes out for what is clearly a sump backup, you get the amount on the rider. You cannot insure for more than their cap on the rider, which in this case was 5k, the most I found after calling multiple insurance companies.
This happened last month. The bills are just coming in. The sheetrock so far has been fine, so thankfully that does not appear to be an issue in this case.
We did have two pumps, but apparently one failed some time ago without our knowledge. It could be heard to be running, but apparently its motor was spinning but not pumping. The water goes in a closed drain line, so hearing both pumps and water running, we assumed both were pumping water when apparently that was not the case.
Yes, the tenants called the regular number and did not get an answer, only VM, so they tried the emergency number, and no one answered that either. This was during regular business hours, and it took them a couple of hours before they were able to reach someone to report the situation. I assume the emergency number is for after hours, but they were trying to stop the water and calling repeatedly to get assistance, but they were unable to reach someone. When they did, I was informed and immediately knew what was happening and asked them to dispatch an emergency team, which was not done nor was I informed, which led to a situation where, when reported, there was some wet carpet in the family room to a situation where there was standing water through the entire basement.
I don't think you can hold a PM liable, not do I think it is reasonable. If they would have suggested to replace a working sump pump a year ago you would probably not have approved. Or if they would have suggested to modify the building to prevent a scenario like this.
These are operating risks that you assume as the owner. People tend to assume that if they hire a PM it is then the PM's responsibility to gurantee the operational result - in exchange for doing all the work for 5% of the rent.
You expect 20% return on your investment, you did not mitigate against this risk and left it to good fortune and the PM, the worst case scenario happens and now you try to blame someone else. I get your frustration, but the risks are yours just like the ROI.
Hi Marcus, I am not sure you get the gist of my complaint. I absolutely am liable for the sump failure and would not in any way ask them to pay for the replacement costs. I had two sumps in place and insurance to the max allowable. I did not shirk my responsibilities in any way nor am I trying to blame them for the situation that started this.
My complaint is that they were informed what the situation was and to call the plumber or water team immediately, that this absolutely was not coming from under the garage door and that water would continue to come into the basement. At the time, there was very little water in the basement. They then proceeded to call in a handyman to look at the seal on the garage door anyway and did not call anyone whatsoever to look at the sump issue as I instructed with phone call and email until later in the afternoon the next day. The water continued to come in all night and throughout the next day. If action had been taken immediately, the water could have been stopped at the point there was very little water in the basement. At the point I called and emailed, I thought the situation was handled. I was never informed that no one had been dispatched.
Do you still not see any blame on their part as a management company I pay 10% a month to manage situations as they arise? She asked me what I thought, and I told her that water was not coming under the door and the sump was flooding, it was an emergency and to have it looked at ASAP, but she still called the handyman to look at the door but not the sump? She did not even call for sump service until the next late afternoon/early evening, and I was never informed no one was available or was coming in order to do anything about it myself.
For what governs their liability check your PM agreement. I don't think they are going to pay but there are some issues you need to address and correct on management. This is partly a PM communication issue because I see a couple of gaps in communication. They were negligent in not respecting your request to have a plumber check it as an emergency. You pay the emergency plumber call, if you call it an emergency what do they lose by sending an emergency plumber call? Now if that was the soonest the plumber could get there that is a different story, it is not their fault.
The fact that they didn't ask the handyman to check the pump was another issue. And that plumber didn't just replace the pump was a failure in what they requested. If it wasn't working you needed the pump replaced as an emergency. All that said what we say and what the person on the other end of the phone hears can be two different things. I would let them know where you believe they failed to manage this issue. (also find out does that emergency number get responded to during the day or just after hours).
I had a management company have a similar lack of followup with a heat issue and the heating company had not been called or they called someone who didn't respond. No damage just lots of ticked off tenants (cold tenants kept calling and then called me). After that I specified vendors for key items that had worked on the place before and I trusted.