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undetectable leak upstairs ruined ceiling downstai - Landlord Forum thread 210843

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undetectable leak upstairs ruined ceiling downstai by JJ (TX) on October 21, 2010 @15:29

I have a two story condo and for some reason there is a leaks every two to three months in the downstairs dining area. The dining area is directly below the upstairs bathroom. the first time they notified me they said it had been leaking for some time and just was too busy to contact me and there was a tremedous stain in the ceiling in the downstairs dining area. It hadn't rained during that time so we looked into the attic hvac area and all was dry, we looked around the bathroom area and all was dry. just couldn't see any reason as to why there was a leak. I had a sneaky suspicioun that the tub had overflowed but couldn't prove it. Fast forward six months later they call and say the ceiling is leaking again. Onced again no rain for months upstairs hvac area and insulation is dry and the
toilet doesn't leak when flushed and when you turn on all showers/tub/ and faucets no leaks.

I had one plumber come out said that might be from the shower spilling over onto the floor b/c shower curtain wasn't properly pulled, plumber # 2 said that toilet was loose but not leaking replaced flange, plumber # 3 said that he couldn't find a leak guessed that shower curtain wasn't pulled and water might be leaking onto floor.

Now my dilema is Tenant is now wanting out of their lease
they are 5 months into their lease. If they move can
I retain their security deposit and sue for lost rent
and/or expenses to rerent the place???

Help need your opinions

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Re: undetectable leak upstairs ruined ceiling downstai by James Bond on October 21, 2010 @15:53 [ Reply ]
Sounds like a stupid tenant.

Probably best to get them out. The best way to do that, I'm not so sure. You could say, "sure you can leave". After they leave, keep their deposit (be sure to comply with the deposit accounting laws). They could sue, but not likely if they are at fault. I hope you have written receipts with comments from the plumbers.

If you don't let them out, they will likely cause more property damage.

Re: undetectable leak upstairs ruined ceiling downstai by Eric (MN) on October 21, 2010 @19:04 [ Reply ]
If they want out, let them out. Make them sign a lease termination agreement that includes a lease termination charge equal to their deposit.

Could be water getting behind the shower valve, or a loose shower head spraying water into the wall. Who knows, but get it fixed.

Seal the floor near the tub, that may help too.

From my lease...

37. MINIMUM CHARGES FOR REPAIRS _______________ (Initials)
There will be a minimum charge for damages that are not repaired by RESIDENT before last day of lease. Actual charges may exceed these minimum charges. Broken Windows $75 ea; Range cleaning $200 ea.; Refrigerator cleaning $100 ea.; Burned out bulbs $5 ea; Torn Shades $10 ea; General apt. Cleaning $550; Clogged toilets, $100; Carpet cleaning, $150; Missing keys, $5 ea; Broken mini-blinds $25; Nuisance calls, $50; Maintenance/repair labor $65.00 per hour; Cleaning labor, $40.00 per hr. On-site Storage, $200 per month. Lease termination fee, 2 months’ rent.

Re: undetectable leak upstairs ruined ceiling downstai by Micah (Maine) on October 21, 2010 @20:01 [ Reply ]
I had a similar situation in my building. This could be from the tenant showering and letting water hit the floor (recaulking EVERYWHERE is a good idea anyways). It could also be from the faucet plate. Sometimes a tenant may take a bath and put their feet where they shouldn't allowing water to get behind something they think is sealed.

Another possibility is that the water is coming from another unit. Water travels. All you need is a tiny slope and some long straight beams and water can go from one end of the building to the other. The only way to tell is to rip out the ceiling and trace the water stains back on the wood.

I had a moronic tenant stop up the kitchen sink to do dishes, go into the livingroom to watch tv, and forgot the water was going. I had to bang on the door to let her know that I had water pouring out of my ceiling in 3 rooms!

Re: undetectable leak upstairs ruined ceiling downstai by OK-LL on October 21, 2010 @22:58 [ Reply ]
You might want to install shower doors if you think the shower curtain isn't doing the job. And use a silicon caulk at the baseboards all around the room -- I usually caulk at the base of the tub, the baseboards, abd the base of the toilet; so any water gets on it, it just stands on the bathroom floor until the tenant wipes it up.
Re: undetectable leak upstairs ruined ceiling downstai by Anonymous on October 23, 2010 @04:14 [ Reply ]
If the above doesn't work.

It might also be a lot of water splashed out of the tub.

I had an possibly uninformed tenant overflow the tub, ruined $5,000 worth of carpet, collapsed the ceiling and walls downstairs. Major, major damage. And of course no recovery of costs.

You might get a wall camera - remove the shower faucet handles - down to the mixer stems. This should allow room to get a wall camera inside. Turn on the water and see if anything is leaking inside the wall.

Otherwise you may need to cut a hole in the ceiling to look.

The "ideal" solution. Ceramic tile the bath. Green board with a waterproof membrane around the tub/shower. Use "ditra-mat" with doule mortar under the tile, and then cault around the edges. That will solve any spray problems.

Re: undetectable leak upstairs ruined ceiling downstai by OK-LL on October 23, 2010 @09:30 [ Reply ]
Just dealt with a similar undetectible water leak yesterday. My ceiling downstairs was taking water from the bathroom upstairs. Turned out to be the tub drain was loose and when the upstairs tenant took a bath (rather than a shower which is shorter in duration) the water was flowing around the loose bath drain and soaking the downstairs ceiling. I loosened the drain further, ran a line of silicone caulk under it, tightened it down and ran another thin line of silicone caulk around it. Filled the tub and let it sit a couple of hours; no leak. Only been 24 hours now, but so far no more ceiling damage.

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