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Kitchen Counter / Bathroom Cabinet *water damage/swelling*

Reverend_ChaosReverend_Chaos Suit Up!Registered User regular
So I have a few issues in my kitchen and bathroom. I am moving out this month and I am getting all my ducks in a row and would like at least some of my deposit back if possible. I live in WA state.

Kitchen: The back splash has warped away from the wall, immediately behind the sink, now there is about an inch gap for nearly a foot or so. Worse, is the edge of the counter along the front of the sink and next to the sink, directly above the diswasher. There is a cheap plastic'ish' or composite counter top, beneath which is a wood composite. The edge where the top and the front face of this material meets has swolen and is very noticeable.

Bathroom: Similiar problem to the kitchen but the side of the cabinet near the floor next to the toilet, close to the shower the wood is swolen from repeated water on the floor. There is a super cheap wood "sticker" that is on the cabinet that is bubbled up and peeled away in spots.

I have a feeling that my landlord is going to try and nail me with these, and I am wondering why he would put a wood that cannot get wet in areas where they are certain to get wet. Would this possibly constitute 'Normal wear and tear' which cannot be charged to the tenant?

“Think of me like Yoda, but instead of being little and green I wear suits and I'm awesome. I'm your bro—I'm Broda!”

Posts

  • dispatch.odispatch.o Registered User regular
    Well, I think that it depends on the land lord. Especially if the complex has changed management companies and/or maintenance managers. If I were you, I'd probably say that I brought it up when dropping off rent a few times and they never seemed to care enough to fix or inspect it. Whether you did or not, if you're on good terms with the people running the building now, and they are not people who have been there the entire time you've lived there... it could work.

    Honestly, when I pay a deposit I assume they will take it all from me unless I viciously document every single interaction. I moved into my current place 5 months ago and have taken pictures and stuff of several things I noticed after the walk through, like the spots on the counter-top the previous tenant obviously tried to hide the fact they didn't use a cutting board and patched it with what looks like nail polish.

    Also, depending on the size of deposit and what's in the lease they will probably keep like 140$ right off the top for a cleaning fee. It's sort of bullshit, but the sooner you can get down to the office and talk to someone about it the better off you may be.

  • Reverend_ChaosReverend_Chaos Suit Up! Registered User regular
    I am actually in a house under a single landlord. Here is what makes me nervous. When we first looked at the house he told us that he had put $30k in renovations because the previous tenants thrashed the house while the landlord was trying to evict them. I know he did not get that money from the previous tenant, and I think KNOW that he cut some corners during the remodel.

    And he is already trying to screw me. I gave him more than the required 20 day notice based on state law, and I talked to him on the phone today and he is trying to tell me that our rental agreement states that I have to give him a calandar month's notice, so I am going to have to pay for February too. This is actually illegal based on WA state law, so I know we are going to clash about it, so I expect him to be extra Goosey when we move out.

    “Think of me like Yoda, but instead of being little and green I wear suits and I'm awesome. I'm your bro—I'm Broda!”
  • mtsmts Registered User regular
    shitty landlords are shitty
    hopefully you documented everything when you moved in. he needs to provide itemeized receipts for everything he does and charges you for

    camo_sig.png
  • dispatch.odispatch.o Registered User regular
    edited January 2015
    I suspect no matter what he will hold your security deposit. How big was it?

    Take pictures of EVERYTHING, good high resolution ones that show the type of wood used and the shortcuts on the construction. I'd even go so far as to do a video walkthrough showing the state of each wall and such once you've got everything out of the way. He will threaten you, tell him to fuck off and provide an itemized list of what he believes you are responsible for, then probably tell him to fuck off again when he doesn't do that because he knows he's full of shit.

    Edit: Don't actually say fuck off out loud. You can think it in your head, but be polite.

    dispatch.o on
  • Reverend_ChaosReverend_Chaos Suit Up! Registered User regular
    I am in for $2520, (3 months rent) - I already am going to use 1/3 of that for my last months rent, which leaves $1680 for us to quibble over, assuming he doesn't try to burn through all of the security deposit and then take me to small claims court to sue me for last months rent since apparently the contract specifically states that I can't use any of that to cover last months rent, so I could technically be on the hook for another $840, plus a late fee of $100.

    Fortunately I took extensive notes about the condition of the house when we moved in, as there was a lot damage left by the previous tenant that he did not fix, mostly in the basement. I am considering having a contractor come over and take a look at some of the things that I think he skimped on and see if I can get some kind of statement from a professional that I can take to court if need be.

    “Think of me like Yoda, but instead of being little and green I wear suits and I'm awesome. I'm your bro—I'm Broda!”
  • zepherinzepherin Registered User regular
    edited January 2015
    Yeah it looks like he didn't repair leaks before doing a remodel, or installed the plumbing fixtures incorrectly. This guy kind of seams like a tight wad, and is going to try to stiff you with the repair costs. You need to document.

    zepherin on
    Gethbowen
  • mtsmts Registered User regular
    I am in for $2520, (3 months rent) - I already am going to use 1/3 of that for my last months rent, which leaves $1680 for us to quibble over, assuming he doesn't try to burn through all of the security deposit and then take me to small claims court to sue me for last months rent since apparently the contract specifically states that I can't use any of that to cover last months rent, so I could technically be on the hook for another $840, plus a late fee of $100.

    Fortunately I took extensive notes about the condition of the house when we moved in, as there was a lot damage left by the previous tenant that he did not fix, mostly in the basement. I am considering having a contractor come over and take a look at some of the things that I think he skimped on and see if I can get some kind of statement from a professional that I can take to court if need be.

    look don't fix anything until you need to. what you want to do is schedule a walk through before your final walkthrough so that you can see the issues you need to address. then compare his estimates to what you can pay yourself. never do any repairs on a rental other than minor stuff unless you need to since it will ultimately end up out of your pocket without reimbursement

    camo_sig.png
    bowenShadowfire
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    edited January 2015
    Water damage like this falls on the landlord to repair 8 times out of 10. The only way it could probably come back on you is if you had a super soaker fight in the bathroom and he caught it on video tape. Did you install the fixture? Did you attempt to fix plumbing? If yes to any of those, you'll be on the hook in that 1 case. Those are the two typical cases. But unless he has proof you did it, he's going to be up shit creek without a paddle.

    Make it very clear you will drag his ass through the ringer in small claims court if he withholds your deposit and it might be worth reminding him since WA is a tenant friendly state, he will likely be on the hook for the court costs (small claims filing), your time off work (your per hour rate for the time in court, minimum 1 hr), and the deposit.

    Start documenting the fuck out of everything.

    To everyone else:
    Document the fuck out of everything on move in day. Every blemish on a carpet, every dent in a molding, ever patched mark on a wall. Make copies, get them to sign it, keep it for when you move out.

    bowen on
    Ladies.
  • Reverend_ChaosReverend_Chaos Suit Up! Registered User regular
    I am not looking to have the contractor fix anything. I think my landlord used a crappy wood composite that isn't supposed to get wet and then he didn't seal it or whatever to lock the water out. I was hoping to get the opinion of a professional, licensed contractor who would be able to write up some kind of report of all the things that were due to faulty craftsmanship or material. This way, I can fight him on many of the things that I think he will try to charge me for, as well as have something I can take with me to court if I have to fight with him about my deposit.

    I took pictures when we moved in, unfortunately the camera we had the pictures on was stolen before I had uploaded the photos, and now they are gone forever.

    “Think of me like Yoda, but instead of being little and green I wear suits and I'm awesome. I'm your bro—I'm Broda!”
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    Yeah that's definitely something you can do. Just let him know you'll pay him for his time, but tell him to be accurate and not trying to get work out of you or the landlord because this is for getting a deposit back.

    Ladies.
  • zepherinzepherin Registered User regular
    bowen wrote: »
    Yeah that's definitely something you can do. Just let him know you'll pay him for his time, but tell him to be accurate and not trying to get work out of you or the landlord because this is for getting a deposit back.
    I agree with this. It'll cost you more money than just having him come out for an estimate, but you can get something solid out of it to defend yourself with.

  • FiggyFiggy Registered User regular
    It could be installed perfectly and still end up like you're describing.

    A cheaper counter top is press board with a plastic coating. Along the edges (like in between the back splash and counter and where the sink was installed) the press board is exposed. If water gets in there, it will almost definitely buckle and warp over time. Is there not any caulking along the sink and where the back splash meets the counter top? There should be. Either way, the buckling/warping is due to water getting in there over and over again--wet counters. There's no faulty plumbing that would leak water here unless it was just spraying along the counter all the time. Sure it sucks, but it's a cheap counter and that's what happens. You have to be more careful with less durable counter tops.

    For your bathroom, the cabinet sides are basically the same thing. It's not a sticker, that's a veneer and is very, very common. Water on the floor will cause the bottoms of the wood, where it meets the floor, to buckle. If water was left on the floor this would happen. It could also have been from taking showers without a vent fan running, over time. No plumping problem would cause this, again, unless water was continually leaking out from the base of the toilet. If that was happening you'd probably know.

    I'm afraid that just because your landlord used cheap materials, that doesn't mean damage is going to be ignored. You're likely going to lose your deposit here.

    XBL : Figment3 · SteamID : Figment · Website : www.nathanswyers.com
    bowen
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    That stuff is calculated against when you go to court. They'll look at average lifespan of the materials, construction quality (lack of caulk), and if this would happen from normal use (normal wear and tear).

    Since this would be small claims, you'll have to do a lot of the leg work yourself, but it's very unlikely the landlord would win if you got a contractor to sign off that the damages were from shitty construction and shitty materials.

    For instance, if a carpet is all matted because it's 15 years old, it's not on you, as the tenant moving out, to cover the cost of the carpet because it happened to just coincide on your move out date, no that's from normal wear and tear and the landlord is expected to cover that at their own cost. Same thing with if you aren't following code when installing sinks and plumbing and it causes damage to your property.

    If a person puts a wet plate down and the veneer had peeled, that's still not their fault, it was cheap construction and this fell under a normal wear and tear situation.

    You ever clean cheap particle board desks from walmart? A random sneeze makes that shit bubble.

    OP just needs to do his due diligence and make sure. Unless the landlord has proof this guy lives like a slob, he's going to have a really hard time getting sympathy from a judge. Unless they live in a very landlord friendly state. WA isn't one of those, afaik.

    Ladies.
    zepherin
  • FiggyFiggy Registered User regular
    It's laminate counter top/cabinet. It's going to warp if you allow water to sit/leak into the seams. The OP outright said the bathroom damage is from water on the floor. Leaving water on the floor is not normal wear and tear. We're not talking about putting a wet plate down in the middle of the counter--the damage is along the edges and is very common from drying up water after you do the dishes.

    Water damage itself is not wear and tear. Wear and tear would be faded counter tops. Cracking due to age. That sort of thing. Warping because water was allowed into the particle board is not wear and tear, it's damage.

    Sorry to be the devil's advocate here. I guess it's worth trying to fight, but my two cents is that you're going to be on the hook for not taking better care.

    XBL : Figment3 · SteamID : Figment · Website : www.nathanswyers.com
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    It really honestly depends on the judge too. But that would probably fall under wear and tear because of it's proximity to a shower device and high moisture content in the air, which will cause the same type of warping.

    Water against a surface will cause bubbling.

    It's really hard to tell without pictures, but bathrooms are one of those "gets a free pass because of all the water in the air and area".

    Ladies.
  • Reverend_ChaosReverend_Chaos Suit Up! Registered User regular
    Thanks for the responses, everything has been super helpful.

    Just FYI, there was no caulk, anywhere in the kitchen or in the bathroom (except the tub) and the damage was not done overnight. I have lived in this house for 8 years and it has just accumulated.

    I for one, would consider it unreasonable to have a counter in the kitchen that cannot get wet. Most of the water damage in the kitchen comes from steam that vents out the front of the dishwasher.

    “Think of me like Yoda, but instead of being little and green I wear suits and I'm awesome. I'm your bro—I'm Broda!”
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    edited January 2015
    In those cases if it's not caulked properly, water will drip along the edge of the sink and be held against the surface exacerbating the issue of bubbling. 8 years is a long time, most of that damage is going to be average wear and tear.

    Do you have pictures?

    bowen on
    Ladies.
    zepherin
  • Reverend_ChaosReverend_Chaos Suit Up! Registered User regular
    I do not, YET. I am in the process of cleaning up the place. Moved out this past weekend. I will be taking pictures to show the condition of the house as I am expecting a bit of a fight with the landlord over my deposit. I'll put some up here this week.

    “Think of me like Yoda, but instead of being little and green I wear suits and I'm awesome. I'm your bro—I'm Broda!”
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