Water Damage and How to Proceed?

8 Replies

I am a landlord of a condo in a high rise. I have been getting so much conflicting information from people from all over on how to proceed.

I use a standard Minnesota Residential Rental Lease Agreement.

My renter clogged the garbage disposal, and cycled the dishwasher and left. They never contacted me and it flooded the unit. The management associated with the complex found dripping water two floors down. My renter contacted them to let them know that they flooded the unit. (Never contacting me about it until I reached out a day after being contacted by the management company and telling them to get the remedial team in there to dry stuff up)

I am at a loss for what to do...I have contacted my insurance and have an adjuster coming out to look.

Currently I am still drying the unit out, but in the meanwhile, my neighbor started knocking down their wall and found mold. My wood floor has buckled and will need to be replaced. I have not removed the cabinets yet because I was told to wait for an adjuster.

I believe the tenant is liable, and at fault for damages. How do I collect or proceed going forward. On top of that I had the tenant co-sign with their parents who are also liable.

Any comments are appreciated.

It sounds like you very well have enough damage for an insurance claim. It may be worth hiring an adjuster yourself (they can often help you get a better claim). Your tenant sounds like he is liable, but it's unlikely he will have enough money to pay, so the insurance angle is probably best, although I would suspect you can still go after the tenant say for the deductible (probably should check with your attorney on that first).

I believe that they have enough money...So would you suggest talking to them and trying to work things out first? Instead of threatening court? Then go that route with a third party adjuster. I can always drop my personal claim is what I have been told.

My issue is with my neighbor and how to handle that as well.

Contact your insurance company and find out what they advise you to do. Did your tenant have renter's insurance, umbrella insurance, anything like that? Definitely find out the extent of the damage and what it would take to fix it. Talk to all parties involved. Keep it amicable. Why would you even think about "threatening court"? You either resolve it with all parties working together, or file a legal claim. Never threaten. Keep it professional.

@Tyler Perleberg

Document everything with notes and photos, including dates and all communications you had with your tenant on the issue. Hopefully you'll be able to work things out, but be prepared for the worst.

I can recommend an attorney who works with real estate investors. He can advise you on options or help if the situation escalates.

Most importantly, what do you want from this situation? The MN standard lease has a timely notice of damage clause and it sounds like the tenant didn't comply. Can you repair the damage and keep on good terms with this person? If you're the landlord, they should have quickly notified you when this happened. In my experience, it's a big red flag that they didn't.

Not really advice on the water or ins., but it does take mold a certain time to grow. I would also have a mold expert look at that.

Thanks for all the advice...I was able to keep it amicable with my renter, and they are willing to work.

If I can deal with that, any thoughts individually on the mold?

I mean, at what part is my neighbor liable for just pounding into the walls, or when does the HOA get involved with their insurance policy kind of a thing?

Thanks again

@Tyler Perleberg Your tenant is probably liable for all the damage, which would include your deductible. To find out for sure talk to an attorney. Before you go that route, I would recommend trying to work it out with the tenant. Always cheaper that way, and you can maintain the relationship. With regard to your neighbor breaking through the wall, the rights and restrictions on owners are controlled by the governing documents for the building. There's probably some provision in there that allows owners to remediate damage, although it sounds like that part might be under HOA control.

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