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Stress over my apartment falling apart


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I wasn't sure what topic to put this in. I am extremely stressed over my apartment. I rent a condo from my landlord in a building. I am on the 6th floor with 9 floor total. A few months back there was a bad storm and water started coming in. It was like a hurricane so I just chalked it up to that. I called my landlord right away to tell them. They didn't seem to care, called the condo association/owner, and I never heard anything again. Now every time it rains, or ice melts water is coming in. At first it was in one corner, and now it is spreading. I have buckets and towels all around 24/7, not knowing when the water will come. I then started noticing water spots forming on the ceiling in all different parts of the condo. I called my landlord and told them all about these issues. They sent the owner of the condos and he came to look. He starts telling me there is a problem with the roof, and they cannot get it fixed until the spring when its warmer. He claims the roofers themselves won't go up there because it is too icy and dangerous. My landlords come to assess themselves and cannot believe the damage. Parts of my ceiling are orange and red from dirty water. I have molding that is ruined. Some of the water is near electrical outlets making me concerned, but no one else seems worried except me. My landlords fight with the condo people since its a structural issue, and the condo people keep saying just to wait until spring. So I have to wait months with buckets and towels out all the time?


And now more and more spots keep appearing and I am worried. I am worried one day I will come home to my stuff ruined. Some of my stuff is priceless heirlooms and vintage hand me downs. I don't know what to do. Of course my landlords are collecting the rent per usual. They are trying. They said they will try to get someone to come in to seal off cracks, but they cannot seal off the middle of the ceiling. Its not their fault, its the people that own the building, whom don't want to do anything. Everyday I see new water spots and damage spreading. I am upset.


I don't know what else to do.I have towels draped over things, and am running out of them to shower with. Its supposed to rain in a few days and I am worried. Northern Cali rain can be brutal.



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Have you contacted your local board of health to make an inspection? A tenants rights agency might also be able to provide you more localized recourse. Different states have different rules, but what you're describing would be almost universally considered breaching the warranty of habitabiliy here in the US. If you haven't sent a notarized formal complaint by certified mail, I'd look into that. And keep documenting. I lived in LA for a couple years but don't know enough about CA's laws to give you more concrete advise except to say I'm sure there's some recourse out there if it's as bad as you say.

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Get your things, particularly the heirlooms out and into temperature controlled storage. This way they'll be out of harm's way and safe. A month or two in storage while your situation gets resolved won't be too expensive compared to losing those items.


Go in person to the local building department and ask for help on where/how to file a complaint. In some counties it's the building department, other counties may be under another department, but building department will know and it's the best place for you to start. Don't bother calling, just go in person. Take pics with you and show them. Ask for a habitability inspection. They'll go after the landlord and the condo management. Also, talk to a real estate attorney about what your rights are under the circumstances as a tenant. Every state has some kind of tenant rights statutes specifically to protect people in your situation. Consultations are usually free.

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When is your lease up? You can break it and move now since they will be in this cash and responsibility war for a while and you have reasonable grounds. See an tenant/landlord attorney, whenever these matters arise so you know what your recourse is. Dealing with this, that and the other agency will be more red tape, passing the buck as to whose responsibility to fix it it is, etc. You'll get straight answers and practical advice from someone you hire to have your back.

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Yeah, I mean I don't want to cause too much trouble. I do think my landlord is involved, but water coming in is not directly their fault and I understand they cannot stop it coming in so quickly. I am afraid if I contacted any local authority, that I may be forced out and as of right now I have no where to go, have no prospects yet. My lease is up in a few months, so I plan on looking to see what is out there, but so far nothing has come up in my price range. I am not cheap either. I pay a decent amount and have a decent amount to spend. Guess I will just have to wait and see what happens.

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I'm near certain that CA's laws would require you be comped if the housing authority or board of health deems your dwelling inhabitable.


I'm not saying you absolutely have to rock the boat (though I personally see no reason not to), but just so you're aware that, more likely than not, you're not simply stuck having to live through it. But, again, completely up to you to weigh the stresses of remedy vs. coping with present conditions. Still, at the very, very least, send a notarized formal complaint in writing through certified mail. Simply doing that will have some owners treating you more seriously as it's commonly enough seen as a first step in accruing decent legally admissible documentation. Also, it just better covers your own ass.


I'd also routinely send updated photos of the damage both to management and the Owner / President (don't know if it's an actual condo or coop). In your shoes, given the apparent lack of professionalism going on, I'd be very concerned about an attempt to hold me liable for any damages after choosing to live with it without a fight.


Best of luck.

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Take pictures of everything. Record videos of water dripping in when it rains.


Document every single phone call, and save every email. If you have made phone calls in the past, but they are not documented, go through your phone history. Make a Word document detailing every conversation, who you spoke with, time of day, what the conversation was about. Keep a running list of each call, and insert every email. Put this on a memory stick in case your computer gets ruined, and carry that stick with you.

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Please at the very least talk to a lawyer so that you actually understand your rights as a tenant and aren't paying for this nonsense.


Quite frankly, even if they fix the roof, I'd be moving out. You have no idea what mold problems you will face. If the roof is in that bad of a shape, it's probably been seeping moisture for a long time. You have no idea what's going on between the walls and what's growing there. This can wreck your health, not just your stuff. Either way, remove your valuables before worse happens.

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