Thursday, March 1

ignore the guilt and do what's right

I have to write a letter to a neighbour, the strata, and the property manager that I really do not want to write. The letter will need to specifically outline that the unit above my condo is at fault for the water damage it has cause in my suite. Throughout the two month process of investigating its cause, I've learned more about my neighbours...and that's why I don't want to write the letter. I feel guilty, but I need to do what's right.

We've exhausted all other possible avenues that could have caused this damage starting from the roof (building got a brand new roof, maybe construction nicked something), from the floor above them (maybe they're victims too), and ours (maybe something something). We've even toyed with the idea of the patio slab run-off (we have a massive patio) or a common area pinhole leak (really hoping damage costs would come from the strata fund, instead of their insurance). The damage to our bathroom and floors is somewhat extensive. The leaks have been intermittent which made it very challenging to determine its cause.

The suite is owned by the daughter, but her mom is the one living in it. The daughter lives with her family elsewhere, but the entire family visits often. Having common frustrations, namely the leak issue and the property manager, we've joined forces to find out what's causing everything. They've been very cooperative and have hired a professional company to seal and tighten every possible outlet water can leak from in their own bathroom. After that, we've coordinated a three-floor investigation where a contractor went from the roof, to the third floor, to their suite, to ours. I witnessed this guy poke and prod the pipes, cut holes in our bathroom walls, he turned on all faucets, flushed every toilet, filled up all tubs, and sprayed all shower walls. All these in all suites, yet nothing leaked. We've waited for the heavy rains and the snow melts (since all previous leaks occurred around heavy rains). Nothing leaked. We thought we were in the clear and we're ready to have everything patched up. Then we woke up one Saturday morning with our ceiling leaking. Not good.

I called everyone involved. The leaks started happening again every Saturday at 11:30 AM for two weeks. Being able to pinpoint this time was helpful because it coincides with the time the mother showers. I spoke to her and found out that she has had a knee replacement six months ago and she is still recovering. Some days hurt more than others. It hurt so bad that she cannot lift her legs to get inside the tub in the main bathroom, so she uses the shower stall in the second bathroom. Immediately underneath, is our leaky bathroom. Cue pangs of guilt.

The daughter's husband, as it turns out, is a handy-man and wanted to check the damage to our suite first-hand. He also wanted to investigate if he can find the cause while it happens, so we scheduled for him to come over while someone uses the shower. It leaked. Yay! We found the cause. He went upstairs to poke around and find the cause everyone else seems to have missed.

No leaks the past two weeks. We're very happy. I called the daughter and let her know whatever her husband did had worked. She told me that her husband had done nothing, and that her mother has been using the bathroom the past two weeks. Back to square one, but at least it's no longer leaking.

Pleasantries aside, it's time for me to put my foot down and demand my suite gets fixed. Whatever is the cause of the leaks, it's no longer happening. Maybe. Either way, I've been living with holes on my walls and my floors are warped. It needs to get fixed. While I feel guilty that I must point the finger and have their insurance pay for the damages, I need to write the letter. I need to write it in a factual manner. I need to write it so it lays out the situation, not the blame. It's not personal, I like them actually. I hope they feel the same, and after their insurance pays for my new floors and wall repair I hope we can someday invite them to a summer bbq in our patio and we can have a beer together.

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