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Homo-nershipJune 29, 2005

The unit above mine sold! It sold to a very nice-seeming single lady, for thirty grand more than I bought mine for, eight months ago. Them's ridiculous numbers, people. I'm  not complaining, but dang.

So the nice-seeming lady moved in over the weekend, and so far her electricity has been shorting out, her dishwasher has blown up, neither her range nor her refrigerator worked right, and yesterday morning at six-thirty, when she was taking her shower, it started raining in my bathroom.

I exaggerate, perhaps. It wasn't dripping from the ceiling, rather, I could HEAR it dripping from her bathroom to my ceiling, an ominous fast trickle, and it was raining down my wall from the window all over the toilet and floor, which means that lots more water was running inside our wall.


Now, the unit up there has been vacant since I moved in, so this was, as far as I know, the first water that had run up there in eight months. The last owners had to replace the entire bathroom in the unit that is now mine (hello, clawfoot tub), and when I ran upstairs to tell her that my floor was flooded, this is what I had in mind. Her bathtub falling into mine. See Anne for scary ceiling details.

Strangely, the new neighbor took more than 10 minutes after being told about it (through her cracked bathroom window) to come down, fully made up and dressed. I woulda put on a robe and flown downstairs. But people react to situations differently, I suppose. And when I explained about the last time and suggested she not shower again until the plumber came, she seemed very against this idea. She said she HAD to shower every day. Well, okay. Some do. But maybe somewhere else? Or get the plumber the same day? Again, people react differently than I do. But I would have been freaked OUT if my tub was leaking into the downstairs unit. Her dime, I suppose, in the long run. (And mine, in terms of dryrot.... Erp.)

So I'm practicing patience. I've been told when they redid my bathroom, they put in green-something, hardie-board, which should resist water. But what about upstairs? Who knows? The old owners of both units are shadier than the current administration, so I don't trust a word.

I don't want to have to repaint. Or pay for repairs, of anything, since even with my recent financial improvement, I still ain't got a dime extra right now.

It's interesting, though, this home ownership thing. Happy, happy, happy to have such problems.

And this: Yay, Canada! Once again, they prove smarter than us.


oh im sorry about your odd neighbor. i'm keeping my fingers crossed for you that she will get a clue.

De-lurking to comment here (love your blog, by the way):

My sympathies on the water woes and the less-than-responsive neighbor. Reminded me of my own experiences. We just bought our first home almost two years ago. A few months into blissful home ownership, I kept hearing a weird hissing noise in our bathroom. It wasn't all the time. It went on after water was turned off but eventually faded. I never could pinpoint it, and since I have better hearing than most of my family, I was the only one who heard it. Darned near drove me mad.

Fast-forward a couple of weeks. I go racing downstairs in response to my mother's shrieks -- the kind of shrieks you make when you see a RIVER of water pouring through the kitchen ceiling, through a fresh hole near the light fixture, and cascading onto the kitchen table and all over the floor. The kitchen floor was an inch deep before we could blink.

Seems that the building code in our city allows the cheap-ass grade of copper pipe (thin). And our plumber said it's prone to pinpoint leaks ... the hissing I kept hearing in the wall between the master bathroom and the hallways bathroom upstairs. (Water pressure kept the water spraying out the tiny hole for a long while after water was cut off each time. It finally got big enough that the pipe ruptured. Hence our own kitchen Niagra Falls.)

Well, at least now I know where our water cut-off valve is. And at least I have one thing to be grateful to our real estate agent for; he helped hook us up with some reasonably priced home insurance that included full coverage for water damages (most policies don't). We were only out $500, even though they had to tear out walls and temporarily remove the cabinet and sink in one upstairs bathroom, tear out and repair part of the ceiling and walls in the downstairs kitchen and the adjacent laundry room, and repaint three rooms in my house (so that the newly repaired and painted walls would match the rest of the room).

Gotta love that insurance sometimes. ;o)

Unfortunately, our plumber also told us we'd probably be developing a long-term relationship and helping him put his kids through college. He said that he comes to lots of homes here in Collierville, TN, and homes with this problem tend to develop it multiple times until the crummy piping is fully replaced throughout the house. (GREAT.) He didn't recommend tearing out the walls and doing it all at once, though. Not sure whether i'm grateful for that or not ...

Hope you find that yours is a less "systemic" problem!!!

Best wishes for a more dry bathroom and a less all-wet neighbor!

- Carolyn B.

And the response to "I have to shower every day" is: "Then I hope you have very good homeowner's insurance." Since I'm sure you'll stop there, I'm sure you won't say "because I have a very good attorney" even though that's the appropriate response to her lack of consideration. (Doesn't this woman know she's responsible for any damage to your unit?)

Good luck with that neighbor (but at least no yarn was harmed, right?). And ditto what Carol said cuz that's what I was thinkin', too. Sheesh.

i second rossana's ditto!

Sweetly, sweetly offer to let her use YOUR shower until the plumber can come, because you'd hate to have damage that would cause her to use her brand new homeowner's insurance to repair your house. It's not exactly passive agressive, but you will have to live next to this woman for (presumably) a long time, and you can catch more flies with honey, and all that.

Just be sure to mention how annoying it would be for her to have to file a claim for your property, and deal with agents and lawyers and all that. Then, after telling her how you'd be happy to lend your shower, hand her the name and number of a good plumber.

Harrumph. And beeyotch. I'm grumpy, so that's all I can muster on your behalf. Also, what the other folks said legal-wise. Keep close track of the conversations you have with this woman.

Would pictures help? As in before she moved in, nice dry non-rotted bathroom? You know...for evidence?

Pictures are a good idea. Document everything. When you met, what you talked about, the condition of your bathroom before each meeting etc. That way if she's pokey about repairs (and it sounds like she will be) you can show that you asked for her to do something asap and she didn't.

It could turn into a real pain for you if she lets things go to the point where you need big repairs, but with all this documentation you can show that you did everything you were supposed to.

And yes, I'm really proud to be Canadian today.

Ugh, I had a similar situation when I was living in brooklyn! My roommate's fiance had moved in with us and he took baths all the time (australian), and the dumb plumber who renovated our bathroom before we moved in NEVER HOOKED UP THE OVERFLOW HOLE IN THE TUB TO THE DRAIN.

One day we got a frantic knock on the door from the super - a little armenian man who was screaming that 'Is RAINING downstairs! Is RAINING in greenberg's apartment!'. The plumber came and it was fixed....

...although six weeks later when the same dumbshit plumber was renovating the apartment above ours he put his foot through the ceiling, and we had a 4 foot hole in our bathroom ceiling, a broken sink, and a toilet full of tile grout.

Take pictures, be pro-active (god I hate that word), and document EVERYTHING!

I've been meaning to share the ceiling details, but I'm afraid of the high blood pressure that would ensue. :) Carolyn B, who's your insurer? Because mine has been a complete freakin' nightmare.

Ah, the innocence of this brand-new homeowner who is clearly accusomed to the tenant's viewpoint ("Hi, come fix it!"). I hate to think what will happen to her poor little bubble when she realizes that she's responsible for what she does to your place as well as her own.

Well if she has to take a shower every day, maybe you should put down a plastic tarp in the bathroom while you are gone. Cause I am guessing she may wait till you aren't home so you can't complain. She also seems to have the attitude that it's not leaking in her bathroom, so why should she bother with it. She may need a little encouragement to get the problem fixed herself. Good luck with that.

I'll keep my fingers crossed that your neighbor gets it together.

A proud day for Canada indeed. Can I just say that I love Canada?
Good luck with the new neighbour. Perhaps she needs a swift kick . . .

Oh how I hate water problems. The leak we discovered last night under our kitchen sink makes me panicky so I feel awful for you. Definitely take pictures and document conversations with your neighbor - just in case it gets ugly. I sure hope it doesn't but gosh she doesn't sound very concerned...and she should be!

By the way, greenboard, which is a special type of drywall, is not waterproof. It is water resistant to a point and is commonly used in bathrooms due to the high humidity. You have some protection there but if you have water actually coming into your walls - yikes.

Good grief, is there a condo association that you can go to for help, if worse comes to worse? Your new neighbor doesn't seem to know (or care) about making a good first impression.

Since we're all comparing stories here, a few years ago I had to let my landlord know about a recurring problem with water dripping into my bathroom from the unit upstairs. Finally we find out the guy upstairs "doesn't like to close the shower curtain when he showers" so the water was going all over his bathroom floor and eventually leaked through to my unit! Ugh.

Someone in the last post's comments asked if Canada has legalised true same-sex marriage or just a civil union of sorts. The email address bounced, so if you're reading this, we actually changed the definition of marriage. As far as I know, everyone can get married now.

Rachael, don't let that lady ignore the situation or eventually you'll be showering elsewhere for weeks while your bathroom is redone!

I see everyone has lots of good advice - all things I was going to say, but everyone, their brother, and their next door neighbor beat me too it. Just as well, I tend to ramble on. Heck, here I am just saying "ditto" and its taken me several sentences...Good Luck & hope it all works out well.

Pictures help. And my brother has had problems with a neighbor regarding some trees that actuall damaged his fence. Since he documented eerything beforehand including his offer to pay to have the trees trimmed, the other guy's insurance paid up really fast. Document everything and get the name of her insurance company. She sounds like she isn't working with a full deck. Good luck

Dude, I can't believe all the comments on this! There is nothing else to say! This happened to me last year, but I rent & it was fixed after some rigamarole. Just try to keep your blood pressure down. :)

I would imagine that her insurance would have to cover any damages you get since it is her pipes that are leaking. It is quite strange that she wouldn't view this as an urgent problem. Maybe if you clued her in to the fact that she is responsible for your damages as well, she might make a faster effort. Good luck! I'm sorry you have to go through this.

This sounds like condo living. I manage them for a rental company. Here in sunny, (ha it's been raining for the past 4 days!) The owner of th unit upstairs would have to have the damage fixed 3 days after you notified her of the problem. Pictures and a certified letter help establish exactly when you notified her. Disclaimer: Your locality might be different.

What kind of idiot is she that she can't call a same day plumber? Sounds like it's the shower pan which isn't that bad a fix - beats a pipe leak any day. Besides, if she has a gym membership, she can shower there for a day or so.

certified letter "pursuant to our conversation of..." notifying her of the problem should at least wake her up. Forget about being best buddies though, but it looks like she's already made sure of that.

I immediately thought of you when the same sex ruling came down. Hot damn makes me proud to be Canadian!

Ugh... Hope the upstairs neighbor grabs a brain QUICK and realizes she may be responsible if she destroys your bathroom. Surely she is?

Response to Anne's question: We use Farm Bureau insurance (not to be confused with "State Farm"). Their general web page is at this URL below, where you can see what states they serve. They were the cheapest we found when we got our house (our real estate agent got six quotes for us to compare) and we have had *great* service so far. (No affiliation -- just happy with them.)

Good luck! - Carolyn B.

OOPS!! (This is so "me") I think I accidentally gave you the URL for their CROP insurance website. So unless you need to insure your tomato patch, I -- um -- would ignore the URL I just provided. Instead, just Google for "farm bureau insurance" and you'll find the right link for the states it serves. Sorry! - Carolyn B.

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