El Niño rains bring the potential to offset our drought crisis, but they also represent a potential crisis for a Studio City apartment complex.
Apartments, especially older ones, often leak and flood during heavy rain, but in this case tenants say the problem is especially bad, forcing them to try and escape weather inside their own homes.
Sonia Curtis says she's a refugee in her own home.
Her living room is where she sleeps and stores many of her possessions. She says it is a safe, dry refuge from what happens in her bedroom when it rains.
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In home video Curtis recorded during a significant rainstorm, you can see the ceiling dripping, the walls are soaked, and the floors saturated.
"A stream, a stream of water. There was a stream of water. There were many drops. I had a lot of pots all around the floor, and then there was a drip starting on my bed," Curtis said.
Curtis is not alone, in a home video from Curtis' neighbor who lives on the first floor, the leaking is so significant the water almost seems pressurized.
"There's no proper drainage, and that is why this keeps happening," Curtis says.
Tenants say the management company's patches haven't worked. The water just finds a new way into the apartments.
"You could get mold, mildew damage. That is not safe," Curtis says.
Consumer attorney Stuart Talley says tenants have an implied warranty of habitability, meaning they can live there safely.
"If you rent an apartment or a house to someone, it has to be habitable," he says.
"If you can't, Talley advises withholding rent in a separate escrow account until repairs are made," he says. "If you have mold and you have a leaky roof, that would clearly fall within the ambit of violating the warranty of habitability."
P.A.C. Properties, which manages Curtis' building told the I-Team they hired a "certified roofing contractor to replace and re-slope about 1,200 square feet of the roof ..."
In a statement the company says "P.A.C. Properties has worked with tenants to repair all damage inside their units."
Curtis is still concerned about water leaking into her bedroom on a rainy day.
“There's been so much water damage and cracks and stuff in this ceiling that I don't feel safe that it won't come through again,” she says.
This property management company says rain repairs are difficult to pinpoint with complete accuracy, but they respond to every complaint they receive.
Full Statement from PAC Properties:
PAC Properties takes every tenant request very seriously. We value our tenant relationships and strive to balance work orders with timely action based on available staff, outside vendors and nature of the request.
In this particular case, the rain leak issues were resolved with the best resolutions available. In fact, last week we received a finding from a third-party roofing vendor that “no other repairs were necessary.”
As background, the initial rain leak for the building on Moorpark was mitigated with a seal temporary in nature. A third-party roofing vendor was contracted to repair the roof, which occurred in a timely manner after the rain ceased and the materials had time to dry.
Approximately four months later in January, another rainstorm hit the area and a new leak emerged in a unit. It was caused by an upstairs patio spillover and unrelated to the first leak. The situation was remedied by enlarging the drain to better accommodate the large amounts of rain experienced.
In each case, PAC Properties has worked with tenants to repair all damage inside their units, in addition to the outside repairs.