After a dry early winter, California is now being pummeled by storm after storm.  Whether you own just your own home or hundreds of homes, condos or commercial properties, heavy, continuous rains can result in problems for your property.  Those problems can range
from roof leaks and window leaks to more subtle water stains, slumping decks and peeling stucco. Regardless, water intrusion, if not dealt with properly and promptly, can lead to major property losses and even threaten your health (from mold, mildew and related resulting conditions).  With that in mind, here are five of the biggest mistakes owners make when dealing with these issues:
1.  Repairing without analysis.  There is a right way and a wrong way to protect and enforce your rights and remedies. For example, many owners are too quick to repair the leak.  They tend to underestimate the problem or want to avoid a confrontation with the seller or the contractor who might be liable for the problem.  However, an innocent, well-intentioned attempt by you to repair a problem could result in you destroying key evidence that could prevent you from recovering money to which you might otherwise be entitled.
2.  Failing to consider all potential defendants.  All too often, an owner hastily comes out of pocket to attempt a fix on their own.  Or, if an owner does start thinking about other potentially responsible parties, it is not unusual for them to overlook one more potential sources of recovery.  They may think the broker who sold them the property failed to disclose a problem, but fail to consider the seller, or the
contractor who built the property or performed a defective repair.  The more defendants you can legitimately include in your claim, the more likely you will get the recovery you seek.
3.  Failing to promptly address the situation.  It is not uncommon for property owners to delay in dealing with water intrusion issues.  They might let the seller or contractor make repair attempt after repair attempt or may even pay for those trial-and-error repairs on their
own.  However, there are important deadlines, statutes of limitation and perhaps contractual deadlines that may cut off your rights and remedies forever if you wait too long.
4.  Failing to consider all possible insurance.
Insurance is complicated.  Many property owners fail to determine all potential insurance policies they have been paying premiums for over the years that might now provide a source of payment for their water intrusion problems. Or, they might not realize how critical it is to tender their claim in a certain way to maximize the chances coverage will apply, instead of being denied.
5.  Failing to consult an attorney.  Water intrusion issues can lead to literally millions of dollars of damage, when you consider costs to analyze the cause of the problem, determine the proper scope of repair, deal with mold issues, and perform the repair itself.  Perhaps the biggest mistake a property owner can make when confronted with these serious problems is failing to consult an experienced lawyer to guide them through the minefield of traps for the unwary that water intrusion problems often present.  In one water intrusion case, we not only recovered substantial money damages for our property owner client, but we also got the contractor defendant to reimburse our client for all his attorney’s fees…in a one-day mediation!
If you have a problem with water intrusion, contact us.  You’ll get the special attention of me and our dedicated staff.  We’ll go the extra mile to see that you receive the maximum compensation and full justice you deserve.  Every one of our clients is like family.  We’ll keep you fully informed every step of the way and make sure you are part of the process.  We firmly believe that you can’t do any better than having our firm represent you.  Let us prove it to you.
If you have a dispute, transaction or any other real estate legal matter you’d like to discuss, please mention this blog post when you contact us and you’ll receive a free 15-minute initial consultation (a $125 value).  Call 800-553-7626 or e-mail [email protected] or [email protected].