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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2018

    Post Do We Need to Pay for Water Damage That is the Result of Our Landlord's Neglect

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

    My wife and I have been renting from a landlord for over a year, and on Memorial Day weekend this year (May 25-27), we were out of town, at a family member's house. The air conditioning unit backed up, and flooded most of the living room floor (linoleum wood panels), ruining the floor. After the technician they hired looked at the unit, they said that it was the result of an internal air filter not being replaced (someone would have to actually unscrew a panel on the unit to even find it), resulting in the dirt and dust pooling up the water condensation from the coils. They never told us about this internal filter, and actually told us that they never even knew it existed. We were required to change an air filter in the wall monthly, but it turns out (according to the technician) that this air filter actually lead to nothing, and it was the internal one that should have been cleaned monthly. I have a written statement from the previous tenant and can get a statement from the next door tenant (who previously had the exact same AC unit), that the landlord never told them of the internal filter needing replaced. When we came back Tuesday morning, we found the mess and immediately attempted to clean it up the best we could (we took pictures showing the effort). The landlord says that we are responsible for the damage of the sitting water that weekend, but we were not out longer than allowed in our contract, and none of the water would have even been there if it was not for their neglect to inform us of this filter needing replaced.

    We did have to sign an agreement when moving in stating "Tenant is responsible plumbing stoppages and cesspool fill-ups", "Tenant is responsible for the clean up of waste spills as a result of any stoppages" (more is on the paper, and can be included if needed, but those are the main statements of the plumbing violations). We also have a paper that was included when we signed up that states the cost to replace a tile/linoleum floor can be $300-$450, but they provided an estimate to our insurance company (who said we were not responsible but are still paying $1000 regardless due to a good Samaritan clause in our contract with them) that the floor damages would cost $1300. They are now charging us $300 through our deposit to make up the difference.

    They didn't inform us of this hidden filter which caused the leak, but are we still responsible?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2016

    Default Re: Do We Need to Pay for Water Damage That is the Result of Our Landlord's Neglect

    The internal workings of an A/C have nothing to do with plumbing.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2009

    Default Re: Do We Need to Pay for Water Damage That is the Result of Our Landlord's Neglect

    How old is the air conditioning unit? If they never knew about the filter then probably it’s never been replaced.

    Document everything going forward (take pictures, keep a written log and receipts), then plan on taking them to small claims court soon after moving out to recover unjustified deposit deductions. However it’s probably also a good idea to check first with your insurance company before suing for a deductible, because you will negate their cause of action to go after the full amount. The time limit to sue over a written contract in Illinois is 10 years.

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