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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Posts
    2

    Default Odor and Aggravation of Asthma from Smoke After a Fire in Another Tenant's Apartment

    My question involves landlord-tenant law in the State of: Virginia

    Good evening,

    I live in an apartment building in a large complex in Virginia. There are 4 units in my building. The tenant in a unit below "left her stove on", causing a kitchen fire that has rendered her unit uninhabitable. I have documented asthma and am under the care of a specialist.

    When I rushed from work to the scene, I only entered my unit (which is undamaged) a couple of times and was overcome by wheezing. The firemen stated that my unit was in the best shape re: the smoke smell, but I decided to get a hotel for the night because I was afraid I'd get sick. At the time, my unit really did NOT seem so bad compared with the rest of the building.

    At the time of the fire, the firemen had to break down my door and open all my windows. I left all the windows open and a large fan in my bedroom window, all night while I was away.

    When I returned the next night, I could not operate my stove. There is also no hot water. Aside from a hurried, late phone call from mgmt asking if I was ok, I have not received any sort of communication from them. I'm guessing that they had to shut the gas lines off while fighting the fire. If I had not walked in on a conversation with the maintenance guys milling around in the affected unit, I would have had no idea when or if my door would've been replaced. To their credit, they replaced it that same day.

    I'm attempting to sleep now, but I can't because the smoke smell seems stronger than it was before, and my throat is raw, swollen and scratchy.

    I have no idea how the tenants downstairs, across from the affected unit, are coping as the fumes down there are MUCH worse.

    My question is--aren't some kind of disaster cleanup/recovery people supposed to come out and ventilate or something? I've been here for 3 years and my rent has never been late. I drove to my unit earlier today and I haven't seen anyone at all. I put in a maintenance request to have my stove addressed because I had no idea what to do. Thankfully, I'm not wheezing now, but I'm just terrified that no one will do anything else and that I'll get sicker.

    Thanks for reading

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,867

    Default Re: Apartment Fire Caused by Another Tenant, I Have Asthma and Having a Hard Time

    Have you conveyed your issues to management?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Apartment Fire Caused by Another Tenant, I Have Asthma and Having a Hard Time

    Took off work and here waiting for the office to open now.

    As much as I would love to leave all the windows open 24/7, with the cold weather it's just not feasible.

    I'm having to navigate this alone with a child (no family lives in my city). I will update as soon as I meet with them.

    Thanks.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    17,510

    Default Re: Odor and Aggravation of Athsma from Smoke After a Fire in Another Tenant's Apartm

    Quote Quoting phr775
    View Post
    My question is--aren't some kind of disaster cleanup/recovery people supposed to come out and ventilate or something?
    If you have renters insurance you should have coverage for having that done on your own.

    If you don't have renters insurance you can either have it done on your own, pay for it, and seek reimbursement from the negligent tenant or you can wait until management does it for you except that I don't see management being in much of a hurry to spend the money on your unit when your windows are open and the fan is going.

    That you have asthma makes them no more liable to you than if you didn't have asthma.

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