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Damaged ceiling from water leak 2 weeks after moving in:(

Posted by Brenda2309 (My Page) on
Mon, Sep 9, 02 at 7:21

Moved into our townhome 2 weeks ago, our first home purchase. So were sitting in the living room last night and thinking about repainting. Were staring at the ceiling and notice a patch that looks like it has been re-painted. Not sure why we never noticed this before. We start looking closer at this patch and notice its cracking. Get up on a chair and touch it and its soft. Husband gets up to investigate, touches it some more and a bucket full of water comes pouring down, breaks a hole right thru the drywall :( I was practically crying. So now we have to figure out whats causing this. Seemes to be isolated to this one area. Maybe a bad pipe or joint? We ran showers but it didnt drip more. We think it might be due to the washine machine as its on the second floor. But we pulled out the washer and checked the connections and there was no water anywhere. Maybe when the washer drains its causing it. Anyway, a few questions.
Is this something homeowners insurance covers? and if so do we have to call them first or how does that work.

And we are really mad because we paid close to 500 dollars for a home inspection and he didnt mention this at all.

And if the woman we bought the home from knew about this and never told us isnt that illegal? She signed the inspection questionaire stating there had never been any leaking.

I dont know what to do. Now our living room smells musty, im sure its wet everywhere up there and now were going to have to deal with mold as well. HELP.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Damaged ceiling from water leak 2 weeks after moving in:(

Someone from your insurance company should be called right away.It could be that you were just really unlucky and that the only thing to blame is bad timing, so don't flip out until you get the whole story. Then based on what you find out you can decide where to go from there. The good news is, your homeowners should cover the damage. We had a pipe burst in our old home while no one was there, and came home to a horrible shock. We didn't pay a dime over our deductible. If it was a problem from way before you moved in, the insurance company will find out. They are always looking to get out of whatever they can if someone else should pay. Good luck.


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RE: Damaged ceiling from water leak 2 weeks after moving in:(

You should definitely contact your homeowner's insurance company. They will be able to answer some of your questions, as well as inform you of the processes you need to take.

You might also want to contact the Real Estate lawyer who handled your closing as he/she will have copies of the waiver signed by the seller. The lawyer may also help answer other legal questions you have.

You also might want to inform the manager on the board in your townhome/condo association, and check your by-laws because most developments are responsible for damage from "the sheetrock out" and you might not be responsible. If the problem is with a "common" pipe in the wall, you shouldn't be responsible and the association is covered under their master policy, and should be required to fix it.

You should definitely get fans and a de-humidifier in the damp areas to circulate air and remove excess dampness. (mold grows in as little as 24hours with toxic mold growing in as little as 48hours)


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RE: Damaged ceiling from water leak 2 weeks after moving in:(

Thanks all for repsonding, it means a lot to me.


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RE: Damaged ceiling from water leak 2 weeks after moving in:(

Homeowners insurance may not cover that loss. If the insurance company can prove that this was an ongoing leak that occured before you bought the house they probably won't cover it. Are you sure that this patch was not the water discoloring the sheetrock. Do you have an association in your townhome community? You may have to check the bylaws of the association. All bylaws are different. Most likely it will be your responsibility. If I were you I would not mention anything about it possibly being a preexisting problem from the previous owners when you speak to the insurance company. Good Luck!!!


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RE: Damaged ceiling from water leak 2 weeks after moving in:(

You need to speak with management. I was a trustee in a condo that had *numerous* leaks like this, due to type M piping (no longer allowed). Homeowner's insurance typically pays only for the damage incurred inside your unit, not the repair. Same for the condo insurance - they consider it wearout. But check to make sure.

Pursuing the previous owner is probably a waste of time. They might have thought they fixed it in good faith. Home inspections are not necessarily going to find this kind of problem, either, though perhaps they should have noted the repaint.


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RE: Damaged ceiling from water leak 2 weeks after moving in:(

Also check with your realtor there should be some sort of disclaimer agreement that is good for up to 30 days or something, Basically they are responsible for not disclaiming the problem or something, My memory isnt very good but check look through all your house files that you signed when you bought it. Talk to your Realtor and your insurance )


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RE: Damaged ceiling from water leak 2 weeks after moving in:(

This is late, but I wanted to say I had a similar experience a few weeks after we moved into our new home.

In our case, a brown water spot showed up on the dining room ceiling, right under the master bath. Naturally assumed it to be leaking pipes in the bathroom, but surprise surprise, it turned out to be a leaking plumbing vent pipe's boot on the roof of the house, over the master bath. (Of course that was not known or realized until the dining room ceiling was opened up by the plumber in four places seeking a leaking pipe!) The rain water found a path through the roof, down the exterior wall, bypassing the master bath ceiling, and then it hooked to the left and emptied into the dining room ceiling. Those details aren't my point here - I'm just saying these water leak sources can be tricky to locate.

And yes, the people who sold the house to us were well aware of the problem and had shoved foam rubber into the vent pipe's boot from the attic in a feeble and irresponsible attempt to remedy the problem. $150 for a roofer to fix that boot would have prevented costlier damage that we paid for. $500 insurance deductible meant we paid the entire $480 repairs out of pocket ($150 to fix the boot and the balance to fix the dining room ceiling that never should have had to been torn up!!). And yes, we too had paid an inspector good money to look things over prior to purchase but he didn't see this at all.

By the way, that was just the beginning of my roof vent pipe boot failures - a second one failed soon after, filling a bathroom light fixture with water - just like on the 3 Stooges episodes!! We ended up replacing all of the boots even though the house was just 7 years old.

I hope you didn't get too discouraged - I find that home ownership is a roller coaster ride of good times and costly repair times! Overall though, you'll probably make money off of the investment in your home in the long run. Godspeed to you.


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