I lease a condominium on the ground floor of a two story unit. On Sunday January 14, 2007 due to the uncommonly frigid temperatures, a water pipe burst in the condo directly above mine. I noticed the streaming water coming over his balcony onto my patio and thought he might be washing his terrace off; until it became a waterfall. I guessed that maybe his water heater had busted and ran up the stairs to see if he was home.
When he answered I was shocked to see his condo being inundated with water from every conceivable outlet possible. His ceiling fan, his light fixtures, it seemed to be coming out of every opening. Not just dripping mind you, but gushing in a steady stream. His furniture, carpet, walls, ceiling. everything was being flooded and there was nothing he could do since it was flooding so quickly.
I realized that the water would soon begin seeping through to my condo and we ran down stairs to see if it had begun to come through.
Sure enough, the corners of the walls at the ceiling were beginning to run with water, drywall was beginning to break away and streams of water were coming through, the water was beginning to soak my carpet from the baseboards, (obviously from flooding to the foundation), my laundry room was flooded, my kitchen, the hall closet had a steady flow of water and was soaking the carpet, the closet floor in my mother's bedroom, my daughter's bedroom carpet was becoming soaked, her walls had seam splits and the water was leaking through, her ceiling was splitting in places and water was steadily streaming out.
I grabbed some pans and towels to catch the water from the various breaks. he had turned the water off at the main, and after about thirty minutes of non-stop cascades of water flow the pipe finally drained itself. His condo is in ruins. He began calling his insurance company and the HOA of the condo complex, (he owns his condo). Right from the start he began getting the run around. The HOA manager, Mary, flat out told him that he had to call his insurance company, that this had nothing to do with her!
I too had decided to call the managment company that I lease my condo through, and they sent someone out to begin extracting the water within thirty minutes. Three hours later he was still waiting for some response from the contacts he made. Supposely there was a plumber coming for him, but taking his sweet time to be sure.
After about three hours or so, and long after the guy who came to my unit from my managment company left, (he extracted the water, pulled the carped away from the walls and set up drying fans), my neighbors "help" arrived. They found the origin of the break and began tending to it.
Once that was done the contractor came down to my unit and asked if he could come in and look around. I allowed him in. After assessing the situation he decided he didn't like what the guy did who came to me from my managment co. he got on the phone and told the HOA manager that what the person did in my unit was substandard work and would be taking over my condo as well. I took offense at his criticism of the guy who came to help me. he is a carpet man for crying out loud! He extraqcted the water, pulled the carpet up, set the fans blowing, and described what would happen once the plummer arrived.
He explained that more water would certainly come through when they released the broken pipe and left some extra heavy sponge like towels in place of the areas he knew would leak again, concentrated more than a couple of fans at these areas, and told me he would check on me in the morning.
Aside from doing what he is licensed to do I don't know what the contractor had expected. MY guy was correct in everything he said, and covered us.
The next thing I knew Mr. Big shot contractor was on the phone again with the HOA mgr, Mary and I heard him tell her: "These people are going to have to move, NOW". I was immediately alarmed since we had no place we could go and a hotel is simply not a possibility in my budget, not at all. He pulled the phone away from his ear and told me that we HAD to LEAVE. I asked him where we should go and for how long? He said, "You have to MOVE OUT". I asked who would be footing the bill for this since I was pre-paid on my lease and had no money for such a sudden situation. He shrugged and offered no further explanation. I left the room and then went outside.
A few minutes later he came out and said, "Mary wants to talk to you". When I got on the phone I was met with the rudest, snappiest human being I believe I have ever encountered! She nastily told me, "YOU HAVE to MOVE!", I asked her where we were supposed to go, and who would be reimbursing me since I had a whole six dollars to my name. She responded, "I don't know, that is not my problem, call your managment company. You have to get out now". I told her there was no way I could move my 70 year old mother, my daughter, cat and all my furniture in a few minutes like that. She told me to get out. I asked her why the sudden urgency since all I had was some minor damage to the drywall, and wet carpet, which had been contained by the guy who came to my unit first. She told me she did not have to explain anything to me and that I had no recourse.
Well that ticked me off. I hung up on her, asked the contractor if the condo upstairs was going to cave in on mine and he laughed and said "Heavens no!". I inquired as to why we needed to vacate immediately and he simply said, "because my workers would have to work around you". I asked him if it was a safety issue and he said, "aside from noise and some dust, no".
Well this pissed me off even more. Here he was just trying to keep from inconveniencing himself and his royal workers.
I again contacted my managment company and they asked why we were told to move. I expalined that I did not know and repeated what the contractor told me. I then told her what the HOA manager had said and the way I was treated. My managment co told me to stay put, she then asked me if I had an attorney, and if I don't she had one she could recommend who would come to me right away to assess the situation and get some answers. I have a friend who happens to be an attorney that specializes in tenant/managment and real estate law so I called him.
He tried calling the HOA witch and did not receive a response. The HOA sets her phone to voice mail and good luck to anyone that might wish to get her to call back in a timely manner.
The attorney repeated his call to the HOA and again after two hours did not hear back.
He came and looked at my condo with a builder friend of his and he was satisfied that there was no imminent danger to us, the unit was not going to cave in and crush us. actually after all those hours of haggling the water spots on my walls and ceiling had begun drying up as was the carpet quickly responding to the fans. We stayed.
Here it is four days later and no urgent crisis has occurred, save for the capret needing to be re-nailed in place and the fans removed. I don't know if the contractor has a right to make the carpet man stay away or not, but these fans are his and not the contractors. Who is going to replace the pulled up carpet if His Royal Highness the Contractor has forbidden the first man to return?
Who the *** does that HOA manager think she is to talk to me like that? Whether I lease or am purchasing, as long as I am current on my rent, (I am pre-paid until April. that is how I like to pay my rent. six months in advance due to my budget getting sketchy with the sporadic kind of work I do) I have as much right to my unit as anyone else. I have as much of a right to be offered an explanation as an owner does. I am not squatting on the condo lady! I am paying for it just like a purchaser! You need to learn some skills in behaving properly towards people. She is rude, dictatorial and absolutely nasty in her skills of communication!
She had absolutely no call to start right out by ORDERING me to vacate my home for no good reason, especially since it amounted to a "Chicken Little the sky is falling" story from the contractor. just so he could keep from having to work around us instead of making a few concessions to allow us to remain. Heck we have no problem stepping out for a few hours to accomodate the heavy stuff like tearing out drywall. ***, I'd even be happy to do the clean up afterward!
Mary is a ***, caused my mother undue stress, (she has a difibrillator implant due to six heart attacks) and certainly did not need the frigtening episode she had to endure wondering where we were going to go. My daughter too was unduly frightened and was crying and asking how we would afford another home. She ended up making herself sick with worry.
MARY, YOU REALLY ARE AN A**!!
Las Vegas, Nevada
Review about: Water Leaking.