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Real Estate February 27, 2015 at 12:38 pm

Pipe burst, flooded apt. What can I demand as a tenant?

Please help if you have any experience or legal knowledge with issues like severe flood damage to your apartment (as a tenant.) Landlords: feel free to chime in, too.

Really stressed out here and seeking advice! 🙁

Question: What can I expect for compensation for the trouble of being displaced out of my home?
Backstory: Pipe burst Saturday 2/21 late at night. I came home to discover 3 inches of standing water in my bedroom, and also in 2nd bedroom (roommate was out of town). Water came from a pipe somewhere behind the walls of the 2nd floor. It was not my fault or negligence. Landlord came as soon as he knew, and he did call contractors, (but did not admit the issue or apologize). Contractors came the following morning. The pipe that had burst was one that went to an external spigot and they had questioned why there was no valve for that pipe to prevent exactly this kind of situation. (In other words, implying he is to blame for not ensuring that precaution.) Damage: mostly structural– all carpeting, walls, and ceiling, insulation, and some piping needs to be re-done. Personal Damage: clothes, shoes, documents/books, furniture.

Total time for repairs: Minimum 14 days. It is an absolute mess right now. Carpet has been ripped up but the place is not dry yet which means they haven’t put up the new drywall.

Landlord found us temporary housing but is not offering any more. He frequently resists our requests. As a result, both my roommate and I had to scramble to find accommodation, and he is not even sure when the repairs will be done.

Some may argue that pipes freeze as a result of Mother Nature — or God?– and so it unfortunately is something unexpected and should be treated like an accident.

My concern: Many people have differing views and advice on this. After calling DC Tenant Rights Office, they said if he accommodated us, then I am still required to pay rent. Now he is not accommodating us.
Do we simply pay a pro-rated event (calculated per diem), or can I also add on costs of inconvenience such as getting cabs to transport my belongings, a day off work for the trouble of moving belongings and finding alternative housing? What about utilities?

At this point I am rambling but just have so much burden on my brain.
Please put in your thoughts, ESPECIALLY if you have been through this or KNOW your rights.

Many thanks!

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