Roof leaks in your rental
June 8, 2019
Historically, landlords and tenants have been on opposite sides of the fence. Thankfully, the Fair Housing Laws define the rights of both as well as all aspects of housing transactions from rental, sales, realtors, management companies, insurance, etc. This column is designed to bridge the gap between the two.
With all the snow and rain we had this year, roof leaks are springing up. If you are a tenant, the process to get the repair should be smooth. There are a few things that you, as a tenant, can do to help the process along.
First, as soon as you are aware of the leak, remove any personal property, including area rugs, that may get wet and if water is dripping, put a bucket under the leak to limit the damage to the carpet/floors. Remember that as a tenant it is your responsibility to prevent damage to the property when possible. This does NOT mean that you are responsible to arrange the repairs, make the repairs yourself or put yourself in any danger. Also keep in mind that if any of your personal property is damaged or destroyed, the property owner is not responsible to repair or replace anything. The property owner carries fire insurance on the property that includes liability. The property owner does NOT carry personal property coverage. As a tenant it is your responsibility to obtain and maintain insurance for your personal property.
Next, immediately call your property owner/manager. This is one of those issues that requires prompt attention so that the damage is as limited as possible. Once you've advised your property owner/manager and you are told when someone will be at the property to begin the repairs, write a letter describing the damage in detail, and reiterate the conversation and the resolution that was discussed and/or agreed upon. It is best to send the letter certified so that you have proof of service to show that a.) you advised the property owner of the leak in a timely manner, and b.) the damage and resolution were discussed. (Include dates in all correspondence.)
Please email any questions to [email protected]
Karen Drum-Sousa is not an attorney. Karen Drum-Sousa has been a Fair Housing advocate since her employment in the industry in March of 2000. To date, her experience includes discrimination testing, landlord/tenant mediation/conciliation and working with HUD and the DOJ as the C.O.O. of a Fair Housing organization.