What to Do If the Ceiling Collapses in the Apartment You Rent?

There is very little worse than when your ceiling collapses. When your ceiling collapses you are exposed to the elements, and you cannot continue to safely live in your apartment.

If you live in an apartment, there are several actions you can take after it collapses.

It is important to note that we will not be looking at how to fix the ceiling yourself or how to stop it from collapsing because you are a tenant.

Instead, we will look at actions you can take as a tenant in this situation.

What Should You Do As a Tenant If Your Ceiling Collapses in Your Apartment?

Every residential building or business is at risk of the ceiling collapsing given enough time. You might think it is exclusive to old buildings, but that is not the case.

New buildings can collapse as well as old buildings. As a result, it is crucial to know what to do if your ceiling collapses, especially as a tenant.

The first thing that is important to note is that tenants are not responsible for the state of their ceiling in most cases.

Acts of nature and excessive mold are the responsibilities of the building owner. The only time it would be the fault of the tenant would be if their actions directly led to the ceiling collapsing.

For example, it would be the tenant’s fault if they were on the roof and damaged it while using tools of some sort.

Depending on the nature of your landlord, they will fix any problems you have quickly. Unfortunately, not all landlords are quick at fixing problems.

Regardless, it is crucial to ask your landlord to fix the problem as soon as you notice it. If you see a water spot in the ceiling or walls, ask your landlord to fix it. Do the same with cracks.

While landlords are responsible to maintain their buildings, they cannot know about everything all the time if their tenants do not inform them of problems.

As a result, if you do not inform your landlord of problems you notice, they can claim that you were negligent.

If a judge rules in their favor, you could responsible for the fees for repairing the ceiling.

So, you must always ask for repairs to be done when you notice structural issues. Doing so protects you legally and offers the best chance for things to get repaired before a collapse.

Keep Records of All Repair Requests You Make

As we mentioned above, you must ask your landlord to make repairs whenever an issue with your ceiling arises. This is true with any issue with your apartment.

Unfortunately, many landlords will tell you they will resolve the problem but never follow through. Instead, they will string you along for weeks and months.

As a result, you should keep a record of all repair requests you make to your landlord.

By keeping a record of your requests, the landlord cannot claim negligence on the part of the tenant if the ceiling collapses.

Whenever you make a request, make a note of who you spoke to and the repairs you requested. If you live in a privately owned property, your landlord is likely one or two people.

If that is the case, you do not need to keep a record of who you spoke to, only what your request was. However, it cannot hurt to keep a record of that anyway.

Conversely, if you live in a building owned by a large company, you must keep a record of who you spoke to. Ask the name of the person on the phone so you can update your records.

Additionally, you should never rely on leaving a message or email. It is best to talk to someone directly because then no one can claim the message got lost.

You should also occasionally email your records to yourself to ensure the authenticity of your records, should they need to be presented in court.

Collect As Much Evidence As Possible After the Incident

After the incident, you will be in shock and distress, and you might not be thinking straight. Your ceiling collapsing can be traumatic, but you need to press forward.

The best thing to do in the immediate aftermath of the collapse is to collect as much evidence as possible. However, you first must ensure you have not sustained any significant injuries.

If you need to go to the hospital, do that, but if not, start collecting evidence. Write down what happened while everything is fresh and take pictures.

If possible, you can also take videos of your apartment so that a prosecutor can get a better idea of what the apartment looked like in the immediate aftermath.

If you sustained any injuries, whether they be minor or major, document them with pictures. Keep records of all medical bills resulting from the incident.

Furthermore, you should keep a record of all money you need to spend in the aftermath of the incident. If you need to stay in a hotel, keep a record of it.

Additionally, you should take note of anything you own that was damaged or destroyed in the collapse. You should be able to get reimbursed for the damage.

Finally, if you have recent pictures of your apartment, gather them. Showing what your apartment looked like before the collapse can help you in court.

Collect Your Maintenance Request Records

Once you have collected evidence of the incident, ensure you have your maintenance request records.

Collecting these records is crucial in establishing that preventative measures were requested before the ceiling collapsed.

Presenting these records can prove whether the landlord performed their responsibilities and how much you are entitled to in compensation for the damages.

Immediately Contact Your Landlord to Inform Them of the Ceiling Collapse

Once you have all your records, the evidence, and everything else you need, contact your landlord. Inform them of the collapse and everything that happened.

You can start by informing them via email or text. Follow up by calling them. Informing them in two ways does the most to protect you legally.

Contact a Liability Attorney

Whether you need an attorney is dependent on your situation. If you have a good landlord who fixes problems whenever they pop up, you might not need one.

However, in the event of a ceiling collapse, you are probably obligated to compensation because of damages.

While good landlords might be willing to do repairs quickly and put you in a hotel after a ceiling collapse, they probably will not pay a lump sum to compensate for material damages.

You should contact a liability attorney after you contact your landlord. This will ensure you receive the compensation you deserve for physical and emotional damage from the incident.

It is crucial to have records of maintenance requests and the state of your apartment after the ceiling collapse. Your lawyer will ask for these things, so you should be prepared.

How Much Compensation Are You Entitled to After Your Ceiling Collapses?

As we have mentioned several times at this point, you are likely entitled to compensation if your ceiling collapses. How much depends on several factors.

The factors that affect your payout most significantly on the severity of damages and harm you incur. These damages can be to your possessions, body, or mental well-being.

If you incur physical or mental injuries, the prognosis of your long-term recovery from your doctor will play a significant factor in settling.

Furthermore, if you cannot immediately return to work, any lost wages can be reimbursed in the settlement.

Conversely, if you incur minor injuries and miss no time at work, your settlement will be much smaller.

As long as you have records of maintenance requests, your minimum settlement should compensate you for any bills resulting from the incident.

However, you will likely earn a larger payout from injuries, income loss, loss of employment, and mental trauma.

Final Thoughts

When your ceiling collapses, there is a lot to process. Your home that was supposed to protect you from the outside world is no longer a sanctuary of safety.

Unfortunately, you cannot sit in your emotions after an incident like this. Instead, you must act to ensure you get everything you deserve.

Start by collecting your maintenance request records, and records of when your landlord performed maintenance.

The next thing to do is collect evidence of the incident. Take pictures of the apartment after the collapse, and record all transactions you need to make in the aftermath.

Once you have collected evidence, you must contact your landlord to inform them of the ceiling collapse. They may react in several ways depending on how good a landlord they are.

Finally, contact a liability attorney to represent you. They will help you earn as much compensation as possible from the incident.

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