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Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Accident happened and don’t know what to do at all

Home Forums Advice & Chat Accident happened and don’t know what to do at all

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  • #1112878 Reply
    Beth
    Guest

    A sprinkler went off in my Apartment due to a special needs child playing with it (as curious children do). I didn’t even know sprinklers could go off without the aid of a fire but…it did. It was located on the wall (not the ceiling).

    The water flooded a portion of my apartment and damaged multiple levels. We had to temporarily move out until the damages were repaired.

    This was truly an accident caused by a child but now my apartment complex wants to hit me with a $17,000 bill. My renters insurance supposedly doesn’t cover water damage inside the home so now I’m screwed.

    The complex wants me to pay $900 a month ON TOP of my rent which is COMPLETELY impossible for me considering I make less than $40,000 a year with kids to take care of. I don’t even know how they could expect that of someone when they can easily see my income.

    This is extremely stressful as I was in the process of building my credit and now I have this huge debt. I can’t afford to have it on my credit report or I’m ruined.

    Can someone please help with any advice on what to do?

    #1112879 Reply
    Kate
    Keymaster

    You should consult with a lawyer. It might be free through your workplace EAP if you have one, or it might cost a few hundred bucks, but I wouldn’t just trust your landlord that you owe $17k. But first maybe thoroughly read your lease to see if there’s anything in there about what you are or are not responsible for.

    I will say, in condos that you own, you ARE on the hook for water damage in your unit, even if you got flooded from the unit above. Your homeowner’s insurance has to cover it. But I would think, if you’re not the owner of the unit, then the owner’s insurance should cover it. Sounds odd to me that the renter would have to cover water damage.

    #1112880 Reply
    Beth
    Guest

    Unfortunately, my lease does say that residents assume liability for any damages outside of normal wear and tear. Upon moving in, they required us to get a renters insurance with $100k coverage that doesn’t even pay for all types of damages.

    It doesn’t seem fair considering this was an accident and not intentional damage done. It wasn’t caused by negligence because I can’t have eyes on a child 24/7 nor keep them locked away with their hands tied. It’s an apartment complex owned by Prime properties. They make millions of dollars a year yet are looking to put a family in hardship over costs they’re more than capable of covering. Same goes for my insurance company too. A plan worth $100k that Is of no use to me.

    I’m also scared because my 18 year old daughter is on the lease and I’d hate for this to go on her credit. She’s way too young to have such bullsh*t on her report and I’d hate to have her help pay for it when she wasn’t even here at the time.

    #1112881 Reply
    Fyodor
    Guest

    I would second the suggestion of speaking with a lawyer.

    #1112884 Reply
    WhyDoWeExist?
    Guest

    Lawyer. If you are in a country with well fair, I would also talk to your look social welfare office as they may have some free resources to help you.

    #1112887 Reply
    LisforLeslie
    Guest

    Lawyer – but let’s also be really clear that you likely will be on the hook for this. It’s not like a sprinkler is in arms’ reach of a child. We’re talking about something on the ceiling.

    You just admitted that your child was ‘playing with it’ – that either means your child is able to reach the ceiling without aid or your child stood on something to gain access or your child threw something or hit it with something.

    If your child turned on the tub and let it overflow, you’d likely be liable for that as well. This is likely not going to go in your favor.

    #1112888 Reply
    Kate
    Keymaster

    I don’t know, it seems predatory. You may end up being on the hook for it, but before paying I’d definitely talk to a lawyer, consumer protection bureau, and any social services agency I could find.

    There should have been some insurance on the unit that would cover water damage, maybe with like a $1k deductible but still.

    #1112889 Reply
    Anonymousse
    Guest

    I do have to say I find it hard to believe a child unsupervised for a short period of time could cause water damage to so many floors. How did no one notice? Was the child alone in the apartment? It does sound like you may be liable for some of this damage. Accidents happen but this doesn’t sound like an accident, this sound like a child was left unattended for some time. I would encourage you to speak to a lawyer but you may not like the outcome.

    #1112890 Reply
    Anonymousse
    Guest

    Also, why is your daughter on the lease? Yes, this could really harm her credit. You need to help her with this.

    #1112891 Reply
    Kate
    Keymaster

    I’m kind of a water damage expert at this point, and I could see the sprinkler system coming on and it taking enough time to shut it off that it could mess up a bunch of shit, regardless of who was home, but yeah, it also sounds possible there may have been a child left unattended who shouldn’t have been.

    After I moved out of an apartment once, I ran into former neighbor who told me that the people above my old unit drilled into a pipe by accident when hanging a picture, and it trashed 3 units including mine. And just in the past month in my building we had someone leave water running and someone else had her dishwasher overflow while she was at the hospital. Sooooo many units got trashed. These things do happen, with crazy amounts of damage caused, even with something like a leaky shower.

    #1112893 Reply
    Anonymousse
    Guest

    It still boggles the mind how a sprinkler could be set off by a child?!

    #1112894 Reply
    Kate
    Keymaster

    It was on the wall.

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