UrbanTurf Reader Asks: Do I Deserve Financial Compensation?

by UrbanTurf Staff


In this installment of UrbanTurf Reader Asks, a reader who recently moved into a rental building in DC inquires if he is due financial compensation from the building owner as a result of the following mishap.

“A tenant on the floor above me committed some sort of user error responsible for flooding four neighbors (I am one of them). Within days of moving in, my ceilings are leaking and carpet is soaked. My stuff is all moved around, they have to repaint the ceilings (in the living room and bedroom), they tore out parts of my carpet (which need to be replaced), and there are three big air movers and a huge dehumidifier running in may apartment now that make tons of noise and I’m certain are going to ratchet up my electricity bill.

This incident is not my fault, it’s miserable (I’m working from home, as well—and they offered me the guest suite, but my massive desktop, coffee maker, etc are here), and I went and slept elsewhere last night. I believe I deserve a pro-rated rent deduction and an electricity bill credit. What say the UrbanTurf audience?”

Post your thoughts in the comments section. If you would like to submit a question for UrbanTurf Reader Asks, send an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

See other articles related to: urbanturf reader asks, renting, apartment flooding

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/urbanturf_reader_asks_do_i_deserve_financial_compensation/5504


  1. Tim said at 1:14 pm on Monday May 7, 2012:

    At least a months rent I would think.

  1. erin said at 1:42 pm on Monday May 7, 2012:

    It’s tough because it is not really the building’s fault. Of course, not your fault either and somebody should compensate you. Half of your monthly rent makes sense to me.

  1. Belle said at 1:51 pm on Monday May 7, 2012:

    This happened to me at Mass Court in 2005. I made them pay my utility bill (those dehumidifiers were power eating machines), and I made them give me a full month of rent.

  1. John M said at 1:53 pm on Monday May 7, 2012:

    This is why renter’s insurance is crucial.  Those $10-15 a month can help with damaged property and associated expenses.

  1. Nikki said at 3:17 pm on Monday May 7, 2012:

    I think they should definitely cover your utility bill but I’ll be shocked if they give you a rent discount. This happened to some friends of mine more than once in the same building and they got little to no compensation from the company. They ended up moving out of the building (after being allowed to break the lease without penalty).  I also think them offering you guest accomodations goes a long way toward righting this…just because you didn’t take them doesn’t mean they didn’t offer something of value. Good luck and sorry about your inconvenience!

  1. Kate said at 3:56 pm on Monday May 7, 2012:

    @John M—I’m not sure renters insurance is the answer here. I doubt his utility bill would be covered, and why should he have to file a claim and risk raising his rates?
    I would 1) look into whether or not the upstairs neighbor has renters’ insurance and
    2) Hold out for a rent reduction. Your lease promises you a habitable living space, and you do not have that now. This is a major inconvenience to you that could also affect your living. The landlord may not legally be required to do this, but should act in good faith to do this.
    3) Be vigilant about mold as time goes on, if your landlord refuses a rent reduction, perhaps ask for an official mold inspection to take place in a few months—if nothing else, that could be a bargaining chip for you.

  1. Andi said at 4:12 pm on Monday May 7, 2012:

    This is the responsibility of the tenant that flooded the building. Their insurance should be who you go after. If they don’t have insurance, you should go after them. They are ultimately responsible.

  1. Mark K said at 5:17 pm on Monday May 7, 2012:

    This is EXACTLY what renter’s insurance is for. You file a claim, they will cut you a check for your losses, then they will go after the other tenant (or their insurance) to get their money back. If it’s not your fault it won’t raise your rates.

  1. Lindsay said at 6:05 pm on Monday May 7, 2012:

    Agree that renters insurance is the answer. Let this be a lesson to ALL you renters out there, it’s worth the $100-200 a year.

  1. mona said at 9:36 pm on Monday May 7, 2012:

    Hate to tell you this but the landlord is only responsible to fix the place. If your stuff is ruined then that is where renter insurance comes in to play. If you want to break your lease early they should allow that. This isn’t about something that is the landlords fault. It is the person above you, and it is your responsibility to have renters insurance

  1. Kristin said at 7:48 am on Tuesday May 8, 2012:

    I’ve worked both on-site and at the corporate level in the property management industry.  I’ve been on the renter side too. 

    I can tell you that, unless management is super flexible and has “out of the norm” policies not consistent with the industry, renter’s insurance IS something you should have had.  They certainly dropped the ball on not educating you about it further.  As a leasing agent at one point in time, that was a mandatory part of my presentation when touring.  Some properties actually require it in order to live there in the first place.  Tisk, tisk, they dropped the ball…

    The property should be willing to help you out in some respect, although they are not at all obligated to.  They are responsible for the structure of the building only; not your personal belongings.  However, torn up walls, carpet, etc., all that left in disarray, if they don’t do something soon to make this a bit easier on you, I’m certain you won’t be renewing come next year..Am I correct on that??

    The other responsible party, if you wanted to take it further, is to take the person who was negligent, your neighbor,  to court to try to recover some of your costs and loss you incurred during this whole ordeal.  Now, if the resident was completely negligent and did not cause this by innocent mistake, I’d consider going this route. If innocent error, I’d think twice…what if you made an innocent mistake and all of a sudden you’re being pursued for legal action?? Karma, but it’s your call and just my opinion.

    I hope it works out for you. Renter’s insurance is cheap at $10-15 per month and lesson learned, something I would get right away, if I were you.  No if’s, and’s or but’s about it…it will protect you and your valuables under almost any circumstance.

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