Water damage to a townhome, condo or apartment can occur due to an upstairs neighbor’s negligence.
Serious disputes are not only possible, but likely. Nevertheless, the renter’s insurance must be notified immediately.
Here is what to consider when a unit is impacted by water damage from an upstairs neighbor:
What types of water damage can occur?
Careless water damage occurs when a neighbor forgets to turn off the water, such as while running a bath. Or, a simple accident, like a leaky washing machine hose, can lead to water leaking into the unit below. The result, however, is the same—water damage that requires immediate repair.
The plumbing in the upstairs unit can also rupture. For example, if the upstairs neighbor fails to insulate the pipes in winter, allowing them to freeze, the pipes can burst. The neighbor’s negligence will cause a flood in the unit below and, consequently, expensive water damage restoration costs.
Additional common disasters include the automatic fire protection system (sprinklers) accidentally spewing water and causing water damage. The HVAC system could spring a leak. The hot water system might bulge or rupture, leading to water damage in the unit below.
Does renter’s insurance cover water damage repair costs?
In the event a unit becomes damaged by an upstairs neighbor’s carelessness, the downstairs neighbor may file a renter’s insurance claim. The insurance company will contact the at-fault party’s insurance to attempt to recoup the financial losses sustained from the water damage.
Insurance coverage depends on specific circumstances and whether or not the insured has an all-peril or named peril policy. Certain types of flooding are covered no matter what type of policy the insured has purchased. These include water damage caused by a burst pipe, sprinklers, HVAC, or hot water heater.
When a series of related events cause water damage, the insurer will cover the ruin. An example of proximate damage is when the roof caves in due to the weight of snow. When it rains, the upstairs unit will flood. Consequently, the downstairs unit could also flood.
Should building maintenance be contacted?
Water damage is serious. Excess moisture can lead to mold and mildew growth within 24 hours. Even worse, the mold colonies will continue to multiply until the source of the moisture is eliminated. The mold invasion must be remediated immediately to prevent health problems in tenants.
Water damage from an upstairs condo can weaken the structural supports in the ceiling below. The saturated tiles become heavy and could fall from the ceiling. Fire hazards are created as water drips through electrical fixtures in the ceiling. Electrocution can result when water pools on floors.
Plus, water damage spreads fast, and the existing water damage could potentially affect nearby units. Water damage causes structural damage, like wood rot, which can compromise the building’s structural integrity. It is important to inform building maintenance upon noticing water damage.
Should tenants start a DIY cleanup?
While the upstairs neighbor may be responsible for causing water damage to the unit below, the affected tenant should begin a DIY water damage cleanup as soon as possible. Repairing the water damage prevents the ruin from spreading and causing further destruction.
The affected tenant should start by drying out the area. Remove small amounts of excess moisture and circulate air by running fans. Larger cases of water damage may require powerful equipment, such as rented dehumidifiers, to thoroughly dry the carpets, wood, and other water-logged materials.
Certain porous materials should be discarded. Fabrics, insulation, and carpets may need to be thrown out, since the water damage can cause permanent warping or shrinkage. Drywall and wood are also porous materials and, if warped, rotting or disintegrating, should be tossed.
Moisture might trickle down the walls as a result of the upstairs leak. Moldy, warped wood and otherwise damaged drywall should be removed and replaced. If keeping any damaged boards, sanitize them before reinstalling them. Ensure the materials are still strong enough to provide support.
The ceiling will likely be damaged as a result of the leak from upstairs. When exposed to water damage, the ceiling will sag or even collapse. It is important to remove the ceiling panels as a part of the water damage cleanup process. Consult professional restoration help if necessary.
The water damaged unit should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected to eliminate waterborne pathogens and disease-causing bacteria. A bucket of water and bleach solution are sufficient. Spray areas affected by water damage to disinfect them and eliminate any mold spores.
Mold can infest a damp property within 24 hours. When mold is visible, assess the extent of the growth. If the mold invasion is minor, cut out the affected materials, seal it in a bag and discard it. Major cases of mold should be cleaned by professional mold remediation experts.
When cleaning up water damage from a unit, it is important to take safety precautions. Avoid the risk of electrocution by not walking in standing water. Do not use appliances until they are inspected by a professional and deemed safe for use. For help, consult a water damage cleanup company.
Professional Water Damage Restoration
If your rental unit in Fort Wayne, IN is affected by water damage, it is critical to consult a water damage restoration pro for immediate cleanup. ServiceMaster by Restoration Contractors is a water damage cleanup company with trained specialists, equipment, and proven techniques to return your unit to its pre-loss condition fast.
ServiceMaster by Restoration Contractors’ experienced technicians arrive promptly to assess the extent of water damage. We extract excess moisture with our advanced equipment and begin drying all furnishings and affected materials. Our comprehensive water damage cleanup services include quality mold remediation.
Highly efficient crews at ServiceMaster by Restoration Contractors stand by 24 hours a day to respond to your water damage emergency. We are proud to serve the residential communities of Warsaw, Indiana.
Call us as at (260) 420-1502 soon as water damage strikes and avoid the further spread of destruction.