Author Topic: I'm a Renter - Am I being unreasonable? What should/can I do?  (Read 4280 times)

FiguringItOut

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I'm a Renter - Am I being unreasonable? What should/can I do?
« on: September 22, 2015, 08:22:12 AM »
I am a renter; moved in middle of June.   3 tenants in a 2 story row house. Absentee landlord. One of the tenants is a supper/manager of sorts.  I rent the entire 2nd floor, 3 bed/2 bath. The supper tenant was away for two months July and Aug.  Sometime during early Aug there started a leak from my master bath to the bathroom of the first floor tenant who was there.

The landlord sent her handyman to look at it, the guy came to check it out 3-4 times, ran water in my bathroom while checking for leaks downstairs, etc, nothing was noted, it was nothing that I was doing, and they eventually left me alone.  End of Aug the second tenant came back.  The leak downstairs persisted, they and the handyman kept coming back to my place all of September, kept doing the same thing with running water in my bathroom, checking for leak downstairs while my water is running, etc.  Nothing changed.

Then this past Saturday they came back and said they determined where the leak is.  In my bathroom, the shower has a faucet at the bottom which then has a small thingy that turns on the overhead shower.  They are now saying that the leak is between this faucet and the showerhead and they need to open up the wall to fix it.  They took off the water control in my shower so that I can't use the shower all week.  Also, since both of my bathroom has a common wall, they want to open up the wall in the second bathroom to get to the pipe.  So now I can't use my shower all week and they will be opening the wall in the second shower come Saturday. I can only hope that it will be closed back up the same day so that I have at least one working shower. 

On top of this, I had the tenant from downstairs who has the leak come to place last night complain that I am not letting them fix this before Saturday, that her bathroom has mold growing and showed me pictures of her open ceiling in the bathroom.  Not sure if she actually has use of her shower right now or not.

I refused to let this work done before Saturday.  I work full time.  My kids are in school, but they get home at 2pm and then they are alone until I get home from work.  I don't want anybody in the house when I 'm not there.  The tenant was trying to convince me to let the worker in in the morning when kids are in school, but I also refused.  I'm not comfortable with someone being in the apartment when I'm not there.  Also, if it's 2pm and they are not done, it's not like they will just leave when my kids get home.  And my kids, though teens, are not quiet what I would call assertive.  So in the end the tenant from downstairs was calling me selfish, telling me something about her asthma, and generally was flabbergasted that I refused.   Not sure if she really has asthma or if that is just a ploy to get me to agree. 

My question is am I being unreasonable?  I understand that she is inconvenienced, but so am I.  this has been going on for two months now.  I am renting an apartment with two bathrooms, but can only use one.  I have a feeling that this will not be the end of it all.  I fear that I may lose the use of the second shower for at least a few days as well, though I hope this won't happen. 

I understand that these things can happen.  But then I was without water in the kitchen for two days two weeks ago because they were doing something at the second tenant's kitchen.  My bathroom is over one tenant, my kitchen is over the second tenant. 

Anyway, how often/long amI expected to put up with this before I start making a stink about my inconveniences?  I am already canceling an outing with friends this coming Saturday because of this bathroom situation, but I am refusing to take vacation day from work to accommodate.

Please do not suggest that I move out. 











Paul der Krake

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Re: I'm a Renter - Am I being unreasonable? What should/can I do?
« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2015, 08:37:02 AM »
If I were the downstairs tenant, I would be mad too. If not having anyone in your apartment without you means so much to you, take the day off.

asiljoy

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Re: I'm a Renter - Am I being unreasonable? What should/can I do?
« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2015, 08:57:28 AM »
It's a shitty situation all around and no, I wouldn't feel comfortable with workers I didn't know around my kids either.  In a perfect world, yes, you could be more accommodating, but then you'd also be compensated for all the inconveniences/taking time off to be there. Sucks for her, but it's going to suck for you too. If you guys feel the need to be angry, be angry at the super/owner who let it get to this point, not quibbling over a couple of days.

If you feel like it, apologize to the neighbor, but stick to your guns and let her know your kids are not going to be alone with people you don't know. End of discussion.

But no, you're not being unreasonable.

tvan

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Re: I'm a Renter - Am I being unreasonable? What should/can I do?
« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2015, 10:16:00 AM »
You have 2 bathrooms AND 2 showers?  If so, yes you are being unreasonable. 

justajane

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Re: I'm a Renter - Am I being unreasonable? What should/can I do?
« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2015, 10:20:45 AM »
I think you are being unreasonable to not allow the plumbers in when no one is home. I do not think it is unreasonable for them to leave by, say, 1:30. I would also worry about the safety of the kids, since you don't know these workers from Adam. But they have to work some time.

Can your kids possibly go to a friends' house after school on those days?

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: I'm a Renter - Am I being unreasonable? What should/can I do?
« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2015, 10:34:55 AM »
I would stop focusing on who's in the right and focus on how you want to move forward. You want a good relationship with your neighbor. Take the day off and let them do the work. Homeowners have to do that all the time.

Papa bear

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Re: I'm a Renter - Am I being unreasonable? What should/can I do?
« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2015, 10:58:19 AM »
As a landlord, I vote for unreasonable.  Though I am local and would be present for a repair if you couldn't be.  I feel like you're making life miserable for multiple parties: you and your kids; your downstairs neighbor, the landlord, and the contractors. 


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therethere

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Re: I'm a Renter - Am I being unreasonable? What should/can I do?
« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2015, 11:11:00 AM »
I'm a renter. If it was anything other than a leak, I would say you have full right to delay repairs if they are strongly inconveniencing you. A leak that is causing persistent damage needs to be dealt with as fast as possible. Unfortunately in your situation the landlord has wasted a lot of time. But it is what it is. My roof in the bathroom was leaking for MONTHS without my landlord believing me. I would say I had to let handymen in 10+ times before it got resolved. It was a PITA yes but its the only process I could have gone through to make it go away without paying for the repairs myself. Either way, I would want to minimize further damages to the structure and your health in terms of potential mold growth.

I have been renting a long time so I gave up caring on people coming in to do work unattended. I would see if your kids go to a friends house that day. Or at least have a backup plan of somewhere to go if you really don't want them to coexist. Library? Park? Give them some blow money to go to the mall or whatever kids do these days? Then give a call to the contractor around 1-2pm to see if they have completed the work or not and update your kids with the plan.

I totally understand being stubborn when you feel like you're being jerked around. Happens to me all the time with my crappy  management company. But I make exceptions for water leaks or gas concerns.

Slam

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Re: I'm a Renter - Am I being unreasonable? What should/can I do?
« Reply #8 on: September 22, 2015, 11:20:15 AM »
If you're not using the shower, then the problem shouldn't be getting worse.  I don't understand why this is affecting the person downstairs.  If I lived downstairs, I would go ahead and clean up the mold, but wait to replace the ceiling panel until your repairs are complete.

I do not like people being in my house when I am not there.  Not contractors or anyone else.  If I was the contractor, I would probably be offended that you don't trust me, but I would understand that I am just some stranger.  I would still be upset that you are not willing to be there during the week, thus making me have to work on the weekend.

If the downstairs is uninhabitable, then it should be the landlord's responsibility to get them a hotel until it is fixed.  You shouldn't be dealing with the other tenants.  They are not your problem.  If I was your landlord, I would be trying to convince you to let them do the work during the week.

Inconvenient shit happens all the time.  Deal with it.  If I were you, I would try to flex my work schedule so that I could be there with the contractors during the week.

Cathy

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Re: I'm a Renter - Am I being unreasonable? What should/can I do?
« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2015, 11:55:56 AM »
If you're not using the shower, then the problem shouldn't be getting worse.  I don't understand why this is affecting the person downstairs.

This is a good point, if true. I can imagine some ways that delaying the repairs could be contributing to the problem though. It may be that it's not possible, or is impractical, to fully complete the repairs downstairs until the upstairs is complete.


If the downstairs is uninhabitable, then it should be the landlord's responsibility to get them a hotel until it is fixed.  You shouldn't be dealing with the other tenants.  They are not your problem.

This is a bit overbroad. "With multiple neighbors living beside each other comes basic duties and responsibilities. There is a duty to protect each other's right to privacy and a responsibility not to invade a neighbor's privacy." Poyck v. Bryant, 13 Misc 3d 699 (NY Civ Ct 2006). Water leaks are generally accepted to be a form of trespass to land. The law in New York is summarised in the unreported opinion of Valle v. Haimowitz, 2014 NY Slip Op 51304 (NY Sup Ct App 2014) ("The intrusion of water from one property to a neighboring property constitutes a trespass ... Trespass does not require an intent to produce the damaging consequences, merely intent to perform the act that produces the unlawful invasion ... Since, in his testimony, defendant did not dispute responsibility for his brother's action in opening his spigot, and also admitted that water had run from his property onto plaintiff's porch, he, in effect, admitted liability for the trespass onto plaintiff's property." (internal citations omitted)). In fact, OP might even be liable for trespass even for the time before there was any option open to her to fix the problem, based on the theory that OP's intentional act was using the bathroom and lack of intent to commit the harmful consequences that resulted is irrelevant. There isn't much New York case law on these kind of disputes though, possibly because most people living in shared housing do not have the means to litigate them (or maybe they just consider the disputes to be too trivial to litigate, or they obtain compensation from elsewhere). Although an unreported case would not often be cited in actual litigation, I just cite it here for convenience rather than repeat the information contained in the case (including citations to published opinions), which you can read yourself.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2015, 12:13:25 PM by Cathy »

clarkfan1979

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Re: I'm a Renter - Am I being unreasonable? What should/can I do?
« Reply #10 on: September 25, 2015, 12:51:21 AM »
I think you have a good point about not taking a day off of work. However, you should not assume that the workers will not leave by 1:30. I would have also tried to get the kids to go to a friends house. If all of those things fell through and you still wanted to wait until Saturday, I think it's reasonable. However, because you didn't try any alternatives before coming to that conclusion, I think it's slightly unreasonable.

FiguringItOut

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Re: I'm a Renter - Am I being unreasonable? What should/can I do?
« Reply #11 on: September 25, 2015, 06:48:56 AM »
Thank you all for replies.

To answer a few comments, we just recently moved here and we don't have any friends where my kids could go after school.  It's school and home for now. 
My concerns of the handyman not finishing in time and not leaving when my kids are home is based on my interaction with him and the super so far.  Also, if they don't finish and leave, it will mean that I will have no use of either of my showers.
In addition, neither of them speak any usable English, so my communication with them is by pointing and gesturing and via txt messages with either absentee landlord or supper's spouse who works full time and although does speak fairly good English, is almost never here during the day. 

As for taking day off, may be during another week I could/would, but this week it was not possible due to Jewish and Muslim holidays on Wed and Thur, work schedule, and having no notice of trying to find alternative work schedule solution as this all happened on Sunday evening with my work week already scheduled. 

As it happened, I found out yesterday morning that I would be able to work from home today, Friday.  I send a message to supper letting them know I will be home and they can work if they want, and they said they will keep Saturday.

So now, they are coming tomorrow and I have no idea how long it will take.  And it seems that after all this I will have to leave them here in my apartment alone anyway since they are starting at 10am and I will have to leave at 12:30pm due to something that came up with my family and won't be back till late night.  At least my kids will not be here till Sunday morning, so at least I don't have to worry about that. 





FiguringItOut

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Re: I'm a Renter - Am I being unreasonable? What should/can I do?
« Reply #12 on: September 25, 2015, 10:40:42 AM »
And here is next installment.  Just got a message that their handyman will be out of state tomorrow, Saturday, and they want to come on Sunday.  So after I rearranged my Saturday and switched weekends with ex to make sure kids won't be here on Saturday.

And now they are asking me to change my Sunday plans, which are absolutely not changable.

ETA:  Looks like we settled on Monday at 6pm.  I am fearing of being without a working shower on Tuesday, but hopefully not.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2015, 10:42:46 AM by FiguringItOut »