A British Columbia tenant was found negligent after his failure to report a water leak in his apartment.
Although the tenant was aware that water from a toilet in his unit was overflowing for hours and had spread into his bedroom and kitchen, he failed to shut off the water or call for help.
When a tenant two floors below called to report water in her apartment, a maintenance worker arrived within 15 minutes. He quickly identified the unit that was the source of the flooding and asked to come inside, but the tenant who lived there denied him entry. After some convincing, the tenant allowed the maintenance worker inside the unit to begin extracting the water.
The tenant admitted that he had been aware of the flooding for three hours but did not ask for help and instead attempted to mop up the water himself. By the time the maintenance worker was alerted to the problem, standing water had reached the hallway and seeped into two other units below, causing significant damage.
At a hearing to determine liability, an adjudicator for the B.C. Residential Tenancy Branch determined that the water leak was caused by the tenant’s “use or misuse”, and that the tenant was negligent for not shutting off the water or seeking assistance right away, before extensive damage occurred.
The adjudicator noted that the tenant’s reluctance to allow the maintenance worker into his apartment suggested that the tenant thought he might be at fault and wanted to conceal the issue from the landlord.
Fortunately, it appears the tenant was insured for the loss. Otherwise, the landlord may have had to look to its own insurance company to determine if the damage was covered or wait years for the tenant to pay off such a large sum.
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Disclaimer: The information provided in this post is not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.