Dear PoP – Is This a Leasebreaker?

Photo by PoPville flickr user fromcaliw/love

“Dear PoP,

Last week, during the brief but heavy thunderstorm, a solid 3/4 of my room was swamped with rain water. Nothing of value was ruined but, after the landlord’s inspection, it seems the issue is being blamed on me. Why? My window, which holds an air conditioning unit, had a half-inch gap on the left and ride panels of the window frame which hold the air conditioning unit. This window, the same window that has been open that very same half-inch between the AC unit and window panel throughout the entire spring / summer, has yet to allow even a drop of rain water into my room (I should know, I sleep right next to it). Yet, somehow, these 2 tiny gaps now have the power to allow nearly all of my 14×16 bedroom to become drenched with rain water. What makes this accusation even more shocking is that there is another row house, standing tall, no more than 6 feet directly in front of my window that extends around and is also 10 feet to my window’s right…which pretty much means the only way any water would have slammed through those small cracks was if someone literally stood there and dumped gallons upon gallons into my room.

My point is, I believe it is something structurally wrong house itself that caused this flooding, which the landlord is choosing to ignore for now (I was told to wait a week and let everything dry). So, assuming I were to sit back and do nothing (which I do not plan to do), I would be stuck with soggy floors, a smelly room, and the potential for mold.

My main question for you – is this a leasebreaker? There is nothing specific mentioned in my lease terms regarding any sort of structural damage not caused by the tenant. Are there laws against a landlord refusing to fix a flooded apartment / bedroom / basement / any form of rental property that is inhabited by a person?”

Anyone dealt with a similar situation? Who needs to take the responsibility here?

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