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ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

How do I handle this situation with my landlord and a leaky air conditioner?

Asked by ItalianPrincess1217 (10256 points ) May 13th, 2011 from iPhone

For a few weeks I’ve been having issues with my air conditioner leaking when it rains. It’s not the actual AC that’s leaking. It just allows rain to come in. More than a few times I have woken up to a soaked bed, pillow, and floor. I have to pull my bed away from the wall and put towels on the floor. The wall is bubbling up because of the water. There is an electrical outlet that the water runs right over (which I assume is dangerous). I have told the maintenance guy 3 times. I came home tonight to find a soaked mattress again (brand new by the way). I called the apartment’s after hours number. The maintenance guy returned the call, which I accidentally missed, but he left a voicemail stating that he did already stop by sometime last week and sealed it. I have no idea when he was even here. I checked around the unit, and couldn’t find what on earth he “sealed”. Clearly it didn’t work anyway. He also said turn off the breaker to the electrical outlet, which I did, and that he’d be by tomorrow. I’m now sitting in my very warm apartment, unable to turn on my AC, and unable to lay in my wet bed. I’m not very happy. I’ve been asking them for weeks to fix this. Now I’m mad. My brand new mattress has water stains all over it now. I can’t use my AC in this muggy weather. And I have to sleep on the couch. Come on! Is there anything I can do about this? I don’t believe for one minute that this guy actually came into my house and sealed it. Why wouldn’t he tell me? Why would he just let himself in while nobody was home? And why wouldn’t I see the seal? Any advice?

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12 Answers

Blueroses's avatar

Bypass the maintenance guy and call the property owner directly. I’m sure they’ll be interested in the wall damage at the very least and hopefully they’ll light a fire under maintenance to get it repaired. You might check to see if there’s a tenant’s union in your area and find out if you can get compensation for your damaged property. Make sure you document every time you called about this issue and take pictures of the damage.

WasCy's avatar

To speak up on behalf of the maintenance guy, because he should have said this himself, perhaps: the sealing, to be effective, should have been done from the outside anyway (point number 1) and (point number 2) water leaks through and around windows in cases like this are some of the more difficult issues to resolve, because there are so many places in and around the window where the leak could be starting, such as the top of the window or any of various places around the sash (and if it’s an old, warn or loose-fitting window in the first place, then there’s just no telling where the water can be coming from until every possibility is sealed, one by one).

But @Blueroses probably has the best usable advice for you for now: contact the landlord or owner directly and file a claim for damages with them. They may not give you a new mattress, but they might give you some cash for the damage and the inconvenience you’ve been put through – and they definitely need to get the window leak fixed, as well as get the wallboard repaired (after the leak is fixed).

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

@WasCy I wondered if maybe it had be sealed from the outside. I would have no way of checking since we’re on the 2nd floor and I’d need a ladder. And yes, I assume it’s probably difficult to locate where exactly the leak is coming from. That’s why I called while it was actually happening. I assumed he’d want to come see for himself the exact spot it was dripping from. But he instead said “tomorrow”. I can show him the part where it drips from, but that probably doesn’t help much.

WasCy's avatar

@ItalianPrincess1217

You’re right. Showing him the point where you see water entering / leaking (inside) only tells him that it’s coming from some place above that. So if the leak is at the bottom of the window, then he would not have learned much to exclude.

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

@WasCy That’s what I figured. Let’s say I plugged in my air conditioner again and ran it. If water dripped on the electrical outlet while it was running, what could potentially happen? I don’t intend on trying this out. Just curious.

klutzaroo's avatar

Can you turn power off to the problem outlet without turning it off to the AC? Your breaker box should have labels as to what goes where. Or is the problem outlet to AC outlet?

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

@klutzaroo The outlet that the ac plugs into is the same one that the water is leaking on. It’s the only outlet on the whole wall.

Blueroses's avatar

@ItalianPrincess1217 Could you duct tape the cord up out of the way of the drip line and run an extension cord to another outlet temporarily?

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

@Blueroses I wish it were that easy. The plug needs a special outlet. It’s not a normal universal one that can go in any outlet.

Blueroses's avatar

Oh, of course it is. I thought of that right after I posted. What a pain. How about duct tape and plastic to seal off the outlet from the drips?

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

@Blueroses Good plan! That would work. Although I wonder if I should make sure the outlet dries out completely before sticking anything in there. It got rained on for quite awhile.

Blueroses's avatar

Since you turned it off at the fuse, you should be able to pull the outlet cover off and dry it out enough with paper towels.

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