need help with neighbor and water troubles

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by David Nguyen, Aug 8, 2005.

  1. David Nguyen

    David Nguyen Stunt Coordinator

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    Sorry for the 2nd house-related post this week, but any insight would be much appreciated.

    Earlier this year, my neighbor in our townhome complex decided to take a trip to Korea, and as luck would have it, 2 water leaks decided to wreak havoc with my garage ceiling. Now, the design of this townhome complex is a bit different, with certain areas overlapping, so she has a bedroom, bathroom, and part of her balcony (which houses a water heater) directly over, or rather, on top of my garage.

    The water heater began leaking water and it eventually seeped through the floor, leaving some pretty big unsightly water stains and causing some of the popcorn texture on the garage ceiling to fall off. Over another section of the garage, her toilet sprung a leak as well, neccessitating 2 sections of the ceiling be cut out so that the water could leak directly into a bucket and to minimize the damage. Over the course of 2 months, this bathroom leak began dripping down where I couldn't visibly see it, but it left stains on the vertical wall adjoining the ceiling. Needless to say, the neighbor is responsible for fixing everything, but I'm having trouble getting through to her and her contractor.

    I've asked, and now demanded, that all the walls and ceiling be repainted, as 2 out of four surfaces have been damaged. I plan on selling this place next summer, and cannot have 2 walls one shade of white, and 2 other walls another shade of white, hence my request that everything be repainted. Now, the neighbor has agreed to paint all the walls, but not the ceiling. Something about not being able to guarantee that the paint will adhere, and the popcorn texture coming off. I've read up a bit online and the consensus seems to be that using an oil based stain sealant/blocker will allow any water damaged surfaces to be repainted. Am I wrong in asking the neighbor to bring in another contractor, or pay whatever needs to be paid for the current one to do the job correctly?
     
  2. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    i don't think so. after all, her stuff broke and damaged your stuff.

    if need be, they can scrape all the popcorn texture off, then repaint the whole ceiling. yeah, it'll add to the cost, but hey ... that's not your fault.

    if i'm reading you right, the ceiling and walls were water damaged? if so, then that means the drywall (and insulation) is soaked through. in my opinion, that means they're ruined and should be *replaced*, not just painted over. but i don't know how that stuff works ... that's just my initial reaction.

    also, how is she acting? is she being cool and trying to work with you ... or is she being a total nightmare? if she's being cool, try to work something out with her. maybe she (and you) can scrape the ceiling yourselves, etc.

    but, bottom line, your house should be repaired to the condition it was before the accident occured.
     
  3. David Nguyen

    David Nguyen Stunt Coordinator

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    The thing I'm afraid of is mold developing behind the wall, as there was no way we could stop the water from dripping into/onto the wall. But yes, the drywall was soaked and wet - this was no small case. To elaborate on how much water was dripping, I had to empty a bucket roughly 12 inches tall every day - and that was just the water that fell through the holes already cut out in the ceiling. I have no clue how much water accumulated behind the wall.

    The neighbor doesn't speak English, and I feel horrible for having to make an issue out of it. She's been having me deal with her real estate agent, although I'm not sure why this lady is helping her - prior relationship somehow I presume. In any case, I just talked to the agent and the contractor and reiterated my case again, but they maintain they're not responsible for repainting everything - only fixing the spots that were damaged.

    I am beyond annoyed at this point. If I have to resort to legal action, I will, but I hope it doesn't have to be so complicated.
     
  4. Mort Corey

    Mort Corey Supporting Actor

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    I'd sure have a mold inspection done or you could be in a lot bigger trouble when you go to sell your place. You might also want to check your CC&R's. In some condo and townhouse associations it's the association itself that is responsible for repairing common areas. There are also instances where you might have to split the cost of repairs with the offending party even though nothing was your fault.

    Might be time to spend a hundred bucks or so and consult with a real estate attorney..with your documents in hand.

    I'm with Ted....soaked drywall doesn't dry out, it's more likely to develop mold and rot away. If you're looking to sell, you'd have to disclose that to the person wishing to purchase your unit (not a good selling point)

    Mort
     
  5. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    exactly what i was just coming back here to post.

    this issue has long-term ramifications for you ... especially since you're going to sell. you will have to fully disclose that this damage occured and was properly repaired. if you don't, and something happens to the next owners, they can come after *you* (not the lady) for damages.

    i'm sorry, but i would not take repainting the walls as adequate ... especially now that you elaborated on how much damage was done. get a professional contractor (one you choose yourself) or get a lawyer.
     
  6. Joe Szott

    Joe Szott Screenwriter

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    I agree, mold and dryrot are the things to be investigated before you decide what needs to be done. It's very possible those areas need to be torn out and replaced completely.

    There isn't really an easy way to go about this I'm thinking. But get an appraisal done (keep the receipts) and go from there.

    If she is unresponsive, try to go through any covenant control groups that might oversee your complex. By doing that you gain two advantages: making it public record that there is a problem, and getting a 3rd party involved in getting it fixed. She might convince herself that you are a jerk, but when letters and inquiries arrive from outside parties, most people will respond more quickly to not look bad in the community's eyes.

    For next time, locate where her water main enters her apartment. If it leaks again and she is unreachable, go switch the water off and wait for her to come to you to talk about it [​IMG]
     
  7. Mike Voigt

    Mike Voigt Supporting Actor

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    By all means get the drywall (walls and ceiling) replaced. Also, check the structural members in the wall - they may be damaged as well. Certainly they will need to dry out; mold will grow just as easily there as with wet drywall.

    Not knowing your covenants, homeowners association, etc., etc., etc., I can't tell you who's gonna pay for what - but this is not a small bill here. You will need to make sure of all those details - because *you* are liable for anything found after you sell the house.
     
  8. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

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    At the least, you should have a building inspector look it over. A general contractor would be better, but it might be overpriced.

    Glenn
     
  9. Marko Berg

    Marko Berg Supporting Actor

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    If this applies to you, David, it's worth finding out whether the association also has insurance that would cover this type of damage to common areas.
     
  10. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    Her insurance should pay to have the ceiling and walls restored, which means ripping out the drywall and redoing it. You can't just paint over it. If she is being unreasonable, I would call your insurance company and file a claim. They'll likely sue her for the cost of repairs.
     
  11. David Nguyen

    David Nguyen Stunt Coordinator

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    Well I had a mold inspection done today, and sure enough, behind the vertical wall some mold has developed. I will get a full report later this week that will give me a better idea how bad the problem is, and I will go to the Homeowner's Association with a laundry list of pictures I've taken since this started, along with the mold inspection report. The HOA should also have service records from 2 instances in which they had a plumber come out, inspect the water leaks, and turn off her water while she was gone.

    I skimmed over the CC&Rs last night, and there is mention about the HOA covering common areas, but I will ask for clarification from them whether the common areas include adjoining surfaces/walls, like the garage, or if it only includes the exterior. I'll read over everything again tonight, when I should be in a better mood. [​IMG]
     
  12. Bruce Hedtke

    Bruce Hedtke Cinematographer

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    Why wasn't the water turned off? If I read right, this leak had gone on for 2 months and noone had bothered to turn a valve to stop the water from flowing? If that's the case, there is also negligence on your landlords part.

    Bruce
     
  13. David Nguyen

    David Nguyen Stunt Coordinator

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    I was under the impression the water was turned off. On one occasion, a plumber came by and turned off the water heater, which stopped the first leak. The second time around, another plumber came by and turned off the water to the entire unit, and the amount of water leaking was reduced significantly. Instead of emptying one full bucket a day, it took about a week to fill a bucket.

    When the neighbor finally came home, there was a note from the plumber on her door telling her to contact them in order to have the water turned back on, but when I walked into her place to show her where the leak was coming from (according to the plumber) she was able to turn on her faucets and flush the toilet! I didn't know what to say, but I will add that fact when I speak to the HOA this week.
     

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