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“The leak spread to my apartment through the walls and floors, and the wood flooring in my unit now needs to be replaced”

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Photo by PoPville flickr user JEO Photography

“Dear PoPville,

I have a question about landlord responsibilities that I would love the community’s response to. I live in an older building and a few weeks ago, my next door neighbor’s apartment flooded, due to a leak in the heating and cooling unit. The leak spread to my apartment through the walls and floors, and the wood flooring in my unit now needs to be replaced. It’s cracked and bubbling- in some places the floor has popped up as high as 6 inches. The walls also show signs of water damage.

We’ve been trying to get them to replace the floors for several weeks – they’ve made appointments and missed them on several occasions, which is relevant in that I need to have my dog out of the apartment and in day care, which gets expensive. This week, they finally came to inspect the floors and decided that they needed to replace the floors entirely, and we’ll need to move out of the apartment for 48 hours (furniture and all!).

What is their responsibility in handling this situation? I’ve asked to be moved to another unit in the building while they do the work, but that may not happen for a while and I’m concerned about mold. And should I expect a rent abatement as a result of this damage / having to move out of the apartment temporarily?”

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