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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2010

    Default Gas Leak Found in My Home

    My question involves insurance law for the state of: Illinois

    I rent a house from a private landlord & the other night I came home to no hot water. I called the landlord & they asked me if I had a problem calling the gas company & saying that I smelled a strong gas odor so that if they came out & my pilot light was out, theyd light it. Even though I knew they were just being lazy, I did what they asked me to & calld the gas company.
    When the gas man came into my home the gas meter actually started to go off (evn though I never smelled gas) & come to find out that I had a gas leak in my stove (seperate from the water issue). The gas man asked me how long I'd lived in my home & I said 7months. He said this leak was pretty bad & was probably leaking since the stove was connected. He replaced the valve & instructed me to keep my windows open for a while & then he left.
    My concern is that I had been living in a home with a gas leak and that the stove was not properly connected (landlord supplied the stove & connected it before I moved in). A few months back I started getting headaches that were far worse than anything I'd ever had before. I had them for almost a month straight before I went to my doctor, then a chiropractor, and even an eye doctor trying to figure out what was wrong. Nothing was ever determined. I went to a chiropractor for as long as I could afford to pay out of pocket just to have massages and ajustments which seemed to make the pain easier to deal with. My headaches lasted almost 3 months until they subsided. I also have 3 small children. My middle child is 2 & has had severe issues with sinuses and breathing since we have lived here. I've taken her to allergists & she takes 5 different prescription medications daily which include 2 different inhaled medications in a breathing machine 2-4 times daily. My youngest son also sounds like he weezes and has trouble breathing. In the entire time we've lived here I've never smelled gas. I would have had no reason to of thought we had a gas leak. (I also noticed the the house doesn't have carbon monoxide detectors, which is required by code)
    When I told my landlord, she made no comments. I guess my concern is do I have grounds to break my lease & take any type of legal action?? At any point in time my house could have blown up. I'm thankful that I called the gas company and this was found, however it just doesn't sit well with me knowing that the stove was improperly connected, my home could have blown up at any time, and I have paid 100's of dollars in doctors visits along with missing work due to being sick and my child being sick.

    any feedback??

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006

    Default Re: Gas Leak Found in My Home

    At any point in time my house could have blown up
    there was this time I was driving down the road right next to a big semi. At any point in time he could have swerved to the left and hit me and I might have even been killed. Do you think I can sue for wrongful death?

    No, you cannot sue for "what if's" and "could have's".

    You can make a complaint with whoever is in charge of enforcing the CO detector issue.

    the health hazards; if there was a severe leak, you should have been able to smell it. Mercaptan is mixed in with the gas for just that purpose. Did the gas company guy smell it? While there are some health hazards associated with the unburned gas, proving it cause your health problems would be tough.

    I think you need to get a CO detector in there ASAP as CO can cause a lot of the problems you mention as well.

    Are you within the control of any major city? Some are much more stringent than others. You have action to demand the CO detector. Exactly what would vary based on the controlling agency.

    as to terminating the lease; again, it would depend on who is the controlling government. Due to the gas problem, no, you aren't going to be able to terminate the lease but if the LL refuses to install a CO detector, you might be able to.

    The fact you could not smell the gas yet have medical problems that might be attributable to CO, I would caution you to install a CO detector with your own money if you have to. It is a life and death concern. You may be able to retain what you pay for a CO detector from your rent. Again, controlling gov agency will control.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Behind a Desk

    Default Re: Gas Leak Found in My Home

    When you and your child were examined by the doctor in light of the gas leak, did your doctor document any injury? (You haven't done that? Then you're not finding out if you have a potential case. You don't feel that you have an injury or your doctor has ruled out injury? Then what damages are you claiming.)

    The problem was fixed pretty much as soon as it was discovered. Your landlord had no notice of the problem, and thus wasn't in a position to repair it sooner. It's now fixed. I don't see how this would get you out of your lease.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2010

    Default Re: Gas Leak Found in My Home

    I appreciate your feedback and I see your point with the scenario you used. I guess it's just scary to think of gas leaking in my home for 7 months and the possibility of a fire or something. Illinois actually made it mandatory a few years back for any home that has gas appliances must have a carbon monoxide detector on every floor of the home. I have smoke detectors, however they are not a combo of both, just basic smoke detectors. I brought it to the landlords attention that there were no detectors 2 days ago when the leak was found, I still do not have any as they haven't come here. It was odd to me too that I never smelled any gas, but the gas man's detector was going off the minute he walked through my door. Each room in my home has a ceiling fan which runs continuously, so Im not sure if I'd of noticed it. The only thing I did notice is that my house plants had all died within weeks of being here and that seemed odd, but never thought of gas??
    Again, thank you for your feedback

    Mr. Knowitall...

    when I went to the doctors my only complaint was severe headaches. I had a lot of testing done, bloodwork, etc. Same with at the chiropractor & eye doctor. I went to all 3 just searching for someone to help me with the headaches. I haven't been to the doctor since the leak was found as it was just a few days ago.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    CT & IL

    Default Re: Gas Leak Found in My Home

    If you think you have a gas leak, call the fire dept. asap. Not your landlord. I dont think you have a legal action here.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2008

    Default Re: Gas Leak Found in My Home

    I'm glad you're OK.

    I agree with all that the others advised you. In some states now, especially where I am in NY, it is mandatory to have gas and fire detectors in homes provided by the landlord.

    I normally have a sitdown with my tenants explaining my leases, and when I rent out single family homes, my speech includes a part about "this is a single family home and it does not come with a building manager", which means that in cases of smelling a leak, the TENANT calls the utility. For small repairs under $200, the tenant handles the repair. The tenant has the RESPONSIBILITY to keep the house in good operating order.

    I own quite a number of rental properties, and through the years, I had my share of gas leak complaints. In the beginning, I didn't know, and called the utility doing the tenant a favor. But, as it tuned out, they ask questions and ask that you try to find turnoff valves etc., questions that I don't have answers to because I am NOT standing in the house, and I cannot turn the valve off being a "state away". And being an emergency, they wanted to know why a tenant would call me, leave messages, and then have me call the emergency number from a state away wasting valuable time. There's notices in all the gas bills to call the utility immediately if you smell gas, not to call the landlord and then complain she's too lazy to call for you.

    In the last gas leak, the stove was there for 20 years, and the leak ws in the pipe leading to the stove. The utility tech explained that the flexible pipe behind the stove breaks down after so many years, and sometimes when someone moves the stove foreward a few inches to reach behind and push it back would do it. As to "freaking out", I haven't had anyone freaking out over gas leaks, but I was surprised at many who did that over a water pipe bursting, or leak, and their stuff got wet.

    I don't know how your lease reads, but generally, these responsibilites are yours.

    Often, as illustrated in your case, the landlord is blamed where where the legal responsibility actually falls on the tenant to act on these gas leaks, and calling the utility. If it was one of my rentals, you would be asked why YOU DIDN'T act on if it was going on for so long. Of course, you didn't know, so how is it would the landlord know??

    I even had a tenant once getting upset on me when his utility "looks high", and he wanted ME TO CALL the utility to complain about it and insist they reduce the bill, and wanted to cancel the lease because I don't provide this type of COMPLAINT service. He was mad that I was plain lazy for not making phone calls for him.

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