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Old 04-12-2007, 11:30 AM   #1
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Power Outage-Apartments Liable?

Just curious how i should proceed with this.

My power went out last night, at 9 aclockpm. I called our apartment's helpline repeatedly, and was supposed to be paged back by maintenance to help with the issue. my call wasn't returned as of 12 hours later.

By 11:00pm, when our call was never returned, sitting in pitch blackness, we called out our power company. The power company arrived later and could not get past the maintenace closet door to get to the breakers or whatever they are called. They just couldn't get in. The power man told me that while the property is theirs, that legally, they should always be able to access those circuits/breakers/whatever.

Don't know if that is true.

Either way, i had to split in the middle of the night and get a hotel room, and all of the food in my refrigerator and my freezer spoiled. Total loss around 300 bucks.

If you were in my situation, what would you do?

Also, when my wife was downstairs, she said she talked to a resident who had the exact same thing happen to her, and the management threatened to give her a lease violation if she went around badmouthing the management. she seemed very apprehensive about my wife telling on her.

What should i do? I was thinking if they don't offer compensation, to threaten legal action, and to print up some flyers explaining my situation and handing them out to the residents. This place is supposed to be "high end", i rent for 2 grand a month..and this is houston, not manhattan..i think this is completely unacceptable, i shouldn't have to eat this loss...

I'm just curious how insulated these places will be, and what course of action would be best to take.....

thanks in advance and sorry for the long read.

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Old 04-12-2007, 11:47 AM   #2
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I empahsize with your ordeal of loss of power,food, etc. However; your chances of compensation will be slim to none! Threats of legal action will get you no where. They will probably tell you to "get in line" Printed flyers etc will either result in eviction or not renewing your lease. I know this is not what you want to hear, but sadly it's true. Still, I would loudly voice my frustration to the management.
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Old 04-12-2007, 11:50 AM   #3
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Was your apartment the only one without power?
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Old 04-12-2007, 11:54 AM   #4
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Yah, my apartment was the only one.

I'm not scared about them not renewing my lease, my lease is up in May, i just bought a house. I don't just want to cower over this.

Any ideas on the legality of not allowing a powerman access to the breakers? he specifically said he should have access..
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Old 04-12-2007, 12:06 PM   #5
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Do you have renter's insurance? I don't know if that would cover food.

Call a tv station and ask to speak with their Consumer Reporter.
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Old 04-12-2007, 12:54 PM   #6
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Take it up with the management and try to negotiate calmly about it. It is their fault and they should reimburse you, BUT ...

You have no proof of the contents of the refrigerator, I assume. SO you are really just left with the cost of the hotel room.

No one goes to court over $300, so skip the threat of legal action. Thus the question of whether there is a legal right to get at the circuit breakers is moot.

Flyers, IMO, are bad form. I tend to doubt that there is a "badmouthing" clause in the lease but there probably is one that would prevent the flyers. What would they get you? In the end, nothing except the satisfaction of badmouthing them.

In sum, approach them in a calm and professional manner and make your case that it was their fault and they should make you whole. Then negotiate and try to get the hotel room reimbursed.

Good luck.
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Old 04-12-2007, 02:16 PM   #7
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I'm just going to eat the loss. This management is pushy and sneaky and aggressive here. Going in and playing nice and reasonable will get me a nice pat on the back and an "I'm sorry"

I'm just glad i'm getting out of this hellhole. One more month to go.
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Old 04-13-2007, 03:40 PM   #8
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Yes the building is at fault for not providing access to the electrical closet. That is between them and the power company.

Last year the island that I lived and worked on flooded. We had to shut off the electricity and leave it off for almost a week. It was 2 or 3 days before we could get out there and get a generator to run our 2 fridge/freezers and to empty the freezer that was standing in 2' of water in the garage. After 3 days 90% of the food above the water line in the freezer in the garage was fine. In the residence with a generator running 4 or 5 hours a day 90 % of the food was fine - some had thawed, but still had ice crystals - so we ate those items right away. People who lived on their boats stayed put and toughed it out using candles, generators, and dealing with it. Because of the water in our residence and the amount of water we had to wade through we opted to stay with a friend. We bought a new freezer and transferred all the still frozen food into it.

Unless you left your fridge and freezer doors open how on earth could everything spoil in 12 hours? Do you have a breaker panel in your apartment? Why did you have to go to a hotel??? There have been many many nights when the power has been off overnight - in fact the day we arrived at our friend's house to stay for the week the Island was flooded, the power went out in the early evening and was out until late the next morning. We lit candles and oil lamps, listened to a windup radio, and watched a 2 1/2" battery operated TV so we could get some news. When all that got boring and we got thoroughly drunk we went to bed!

Good grief - it's night, it's dark and you sleep. In the morning, unless your water heater is electric you'll still have water, if not hot water, toilets that flush, and daylight. Where we were when the electricty went out there was NO water, and no flushing toilets.

Good idea not to rag on the apartments! I know what they'll tell you - you chose to go to a hotel! There was no danger, it was night, it was dark, go to sleep!

Sorry if I sound snotty - but in the scheme of things a night without electricity is not the end of the world!
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Old 04-14-2007, 03:38 PM   #9
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I don't think you will get an compensation and if you make threats about legal action I really don't see that anything will happen.

Whatever you do - good luck.
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Old 04-14-2007, 03:58 PM   #10
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Sorry you had to go through that! Ask for compensation - the worse they can do is say no. Like you said, the good thing is you will be out of there soon.
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