Legal/landlord issues... Is it me or my low flow toilet??!!

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Widgit Maker

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Nothing you could have done differently. You could have notified the landlady that the toilet was filling to an unusual height and that you suspected that there was a blockage. Not your responsibility but you could have. Not likely anything would have been done about it even if you had.
Now all you can do is document ever thing and put every thing in writing. Be sure and save the video of the long running toilet. If the other toilet is still filling to the unusual height and double flushing, video that.
 

Smooky

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A lot of those plumbing issues don't happen together or have nothing to do with each other. You may have more than one issue. I still think you might have something in the toilet trap and that could cause the bowl to stop up easily. If the toilet fill valve does not shut off or the flapper is leaking that can cause water to continue to flow into the bowl resulting in more water on the floor, if it is stopped up. Sometimes water can overflow the tank and run out on the floor if the overflow pipe is too high or it gets overwhelmed. You can have leaks at the tank to bowl connection and at bolt holes etc. The supply pipe or stop valve might fail and leak. Any good plumber can trouble shoot these things and easily fix the problem. Out of three different plumbers, I don't see how they could all be dummies but it sounds like you are dealing with morons. There may be a roof leak at or near the vent pipe and it is following the plumbing pipe down ,so it appears to be a plumbing leak.
 

Larry S

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...Maybe you should record one of the small claims court TV shows and see what documentation is helpful in small claims court...
If someone wanted to prepare for what really happens in small claims court a day sitting in on a real small claims court session at your local court might do better. There are also a lot of web sites and youtube videos on the subject.

Has she actually sued you yet or is she just threatening? If she has actually sued you then you might also have a consultation with a lawyer. While most states do not allow lawyers in small claims court (some do) you can always sit down with a lawyer to get some advice and direction to help prepare for court. Paying for an hour or two of the lawyer's time for this might be a wise investment. I'd do this ASAP after actually being sued so you have plenty of time to get ready.

Note that you will likely not be able to testify about what the prior plumbers said as that would be hearsay and in most courts you'd need the person to either appear in person as a witness or present a legal written statement as evidence of their opinion. This would be a good thing to ask the lawyer about if you do hire one to help prepare you.
 

WhittneyG

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We had a licensed Plumber come out to talk to us, and his first concern, right away, was that there may now be mold because the kitchen ceiling still has not been repaired since the damage occurred. There are large brown/yellow spots all along kitchen and dining room with is where water came through once the leak began.
My kiddos have been sick with allergies for several month now, and the plumber, said to have them seen by their doctor, because if they don't typically have allergies it may be reactions to the mold.
The next thing was that, he said that the Supply line, which landlord said we broke by hitting the toilet with something hard, may not ever hold up in court, because a broken supply line is a common problem with toilets, especially on the second or third levels of a home, and they typically occur when someone is not home, which is was causes the extensive water damage. He states that the plastic supply lines are easily broken, which is why a metal supply line should be used. He also stated that since the toilet overflowing did not start until after the Plummber out the new supply line in, the overflowing cannot be a result of the broken supply line.
He also said if multiple plumber came out and snakes the toilet and found nothing, it will be tough to prove you and your husband are at fault.
If the landlords statement that we broke the supply line is the cause of the all of the issues, then repairing it (which she did), should have solved that problem.
She can't then say the problem is that we put something in the toilet, and then weeks later, when that doesn't pan out, come back and reference all the problems to the broken supply line, which had already been repaired.
 

WJcandee

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When you get into small claims court you will be encouraged to go to arbitration. I would do so. My position in arbitration would be, " You compensate me $xxx.xx for the lack of heat or I will move this case to General District court".
If she refuses, I would do just that.
Rest assured she will fold when she has to pay for an attorney and possibly have to pay you. You need to give her something to loose. Right now if she wins, she wins money, if she looses she has lost nothing but a little time. Your compensation for the lack of heat should pay for your attorney.

BTW, this is not legal advise, its strategy advise.

Lawyer here.

That post IS legal advice, and not very good legal advice, at least here in NY. As a general rule, the moment you agree to arbitration, here in NY, you can't then go back to "real" court. So you just told her to do something that, if her state is like NY, would waive her right to threaten what you just told her to threaten.
 

Dana

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That's what I thought too, but I'm not a lawyer (nor do I play one on TV. :) ). Thanks for confirming that suspicion!
 

Koa

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It's been awhile, but if I remember correctly from my experience... The court might have a mediation process to see if the two sides can come to some sort of compromise/agreement before proceeding to court. The mediator's job is just to get an agreement, not a fair settlement. I suspect even if the OP was willing to compromise the landlord wouldn't. You might be ask to attend but are under no obligation to agree with any settlement proposed. This is not the same as arbitration. Make sure you understand before attending that you're not giving up any legal rights you have entering.
 

WhittneyG

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Just for an update... We went to court, landlord couldn't explain why she was asking for $5000. She quickly dropped it down to $1500. The judge sided with us, landlord won nothing.
Judge said it was another money hungry landlord trying to take advantage of the law...
He said there was not one peice of evidence that would indicate we were the cause of the plumbing issues.
Thanks everyone for the advice.
 

Koa

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Good for you! You never know with judges but it looks like you got a good one that would not put up with any bs from the landlord.

Are you going to stay or look for another place?
 

WhittneyG

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We are going to leave. Since, the court hearing, the landlord has came over twice unannounced (I saw her walking around my back yard), and when I asked her if she needed something, she cursed us out and yelled racial slurs, and threatened to get us out one way or the other.
She is obviously upset about the court hearing...
We had to contact the police, so then she offered to let us move out early... But when we asked for a written document that says that... She has refused... So we are taking the appropriate legal steps to move.
The damaged kitchen ceiling, that had significant water damage due to the busted supply line, from the bathroom upstairs, has still never been repaired and its 5 months later...
She mentioned in court how bad the ceiling was and how it needs all this work to repair it... But it is clear she has no intention on making said repairs.
 

Koa

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You might ask the landlord to give 24 hours written notice before showing up to your house. Check the codes, it might be required. Take video with your phone every time she shows up. When you finally leave take extensive videos and photos of condition of house.

When you move out the landlord has a set amount of time according to your local codes to give an accounting of any security deposit withheld and/or return deposit. Some states have up to triple damages if the landlord does not comply.
 

hj

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1. There has to be a "local" problem for an upstairs toilet to overflow
2. Yuu keep referring to a "metal pipe". is the tank fastened to the wall with a metal pipe from it to the rear of the toilet?
 

darryle

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Your landlady is responsible to any repair especially if it was not your fault. However, I suggest that you read the terms and conditions of your lease of contract.
 
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