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so, we flooded the neighbors basement...
Posted by: davemchine
Date: July 09, 2007 10:11AM
My neighbors were away for a long weekend and asked us to water their flower pots for them. The water hose on the side of the house was left on for two days (I was out of town) and when they returned there was 8 inches of water in their finished basement. So the emergency water removal guy was called ($200 minimum for first visit) and about half the water is out I think. He is coming back today to continue his work. Here is the current damage list which I'm sure will grow: wallpaper, paneling, sheetrock, carpet, computers, tv stand, pool table.

Fortunately they are being really cool and aren't angry (yet). They are turning it over to their insurance so we may only have to pay the $250 deductible but I have told them I will pay for anything that the insurance won't cover. You can't imagine how bad we feel.

When this is all over we are going to get them a gift certificate to the fanciest restaurant in town.

Dave



Ukulele music I couldn't find anywhere else.
[colquhoun.info]
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Re: so, we flooded the neighbors basement...
Posted by: mattkime
Date: July 09, 2007 10:14AM
I don't understand why leaving a garden hose on should flood a basement. Either there is something you didn't mention or there are further problems with the basement.



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Re: so, we flooded the neighbors basement...
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: July 09, 2007 10:17AM
Oh argh.....
Well, you're handling it very well. Most neighbors would have been all "Something busted and I didn't notice it..."

The obvious question though is- how did the water get from the outside of the house into the inside of the house ? Even a hose 'left on for a weekend' is supposed to drain OUTSIDE the basement walls. The real problem is with their basement drainage. You were the initial source, but not the real cause of the problem.

Unless you left it pouring into the open window...
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Re: so, we flooded the neighbors basement...
Posted by: chuck_k
Date: July 09, 2007 10:19AM
Don't expect that their insurance company will simply "pay" and leave it at that.

Their insurance company will want to be made whole--and upon investigating, will realize that YOU are the one to make them whole.

It will then come out of YOUR homeowner's liability insurance. Or not, depending on your insurer and your policy.

It may come out of your pocket.
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Re: so, we flooded the neighbors basement...
Posted by: davemchine
Date: July 09, 2007 10:19AM
The water super saturated the ground, flooded the crawl space under the house, and then flooded the basement on the other side of the house. I don't have alot of experience with basements but my mothers house does the same thing. My mother is currently selling her house and potential buyers always ask if the basement floods so I think this type of problem is pretty common. What should be done to a basement to prevent this from happening (aside from not leaving on the hose).

At least the flowers we were asked to water are nice and perky...

Dave



Ukulele music I couldn't find anywhere else.
[colquhoun.info]



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/09/2007 10:22AM by davemchine.
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Re: so, we flooded the neighbors basement...
Posted by: Zoidberg
Date: July 09, 2007 10:22AM
It's likely the insurance company will sue you. I hope not, and I hate to say it, but from anecdotal experience that's what will likely happen. As chuck says, it will go after you and you will have to invoke your homeowner's insurance lawyers to defend you in the situation, and then come to a settlement. You admitted guilt, and their lawyers will feast on that.

Hopefully not, and I guess it depends on the insurance company.



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Re: so, we flooded the neighbors basement...
Posted by: mattkime
Date: July 09, 2007 10:32AM
Where do you live? Is it in the southern portion of the country?

I've lived in a couple of different northern states and I'm certain that the basements there have all be able to withstand such floods, even despite being in disrepair.

Its interesting that something that caused such problems wouldn't even be noticed in another place.



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Re: so, we flooded the neighbors basement...
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: July 09, 2007 10:34AM
Saying that this kind of behaviour is 'normal' in a house is like saying that it's normal that the 1972 Pinto catches fire when struck in the rear.

Both situations are still unacceptable and NOT within building code.

Sounds like the builders in that area took shortcuts and only put in footer drains around the part of the basement foundation that was exposed to the outside of the house (and subject to inspection).

Like we said- something is WRONG with the way the house was built. At the end of the day it is the builder's fault. Don't take a bullet for this one. Sure, you goofed, but the only impact should have been a spike in their water bill.

If you had had a torrential downpour, would their insurnace company sue the NOAA ?
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Re: so, we flooded the neighbors basement...
Posted by: Jp!
Date: July 09, 2007 10:34AM
My flooded basement cost me about $2000.
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Re: so, we flooded the neighbors basement...
Posted by: Zoidberg
Date: July 09, 2007 10:39AM
If you had had a torrential downpour, would their insurnace company sue the NOAA ?

I agree cbelt, but I'm speaking from anecdotal experience in the situation. And keep in mind, a storm causing this situation would be classified as an act of God, and the policy will have provisions for that; however, the left-on hose is an act of davemchine (or someone in his household) and thus the basis for them going after him (or, more approp, his homeowner's insurance company).

(As a sidenote, what will be interesting is if both he and his neighbor have the same insurance company.)



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Re: so, we flooded the neighbors basement...
Posted by: davemchine
Date: July 09, 2007 10:48AM
My neighbors have PEMCO and I have Safeco, so two different companies. It sounds like I have an interesting and possibly expensive time ahead of me.

Dave



Ukulele music I couldn't find anywhere else.
[colquhoun.info]
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Re: so, we flooded the neighbors basement...
Posted by: Paul F.
Date: July 09, 2007 11:09AM
<You can't imagine how bad we feel.

Oh, yes I can...


I do agree that something sounds goofy with the drainage...
A hose OUTSIDE the perimeter of the house shouldn't be able to flood the basement... otherwise rain could flood the basement too. (at least, I would think so...).


Just pause and take a deep breath every once in a while while you're going through getting things squared away.... and remember... this will pass. It may suck to one degree or another for a while, but it won't last forever.



Paul F.
-----
A sword never kills anybody; it is a tool in the killer's hand. - Lucius Annaeus Seneca c. 5 BC - 65 AD
----
Good is the enemy of Excellent. Talent is not necessary for Excellence.
Persistence is necessary for Excellence. And Persistence is a Decision.

--

--

--
Eureka, CA
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Re: so, we flooded the neighbors basement...
Posted by: decocritter
Date: July 09, 2007 11:13AM
Just happened at my condos -


Upstairs flat toilet tank was damaged by floor refinishing guy. No one else was in the unit. He left at 5:00 pm He tried to say it was already broken.

Cracked tank flooded the bathroom and subsequently the downstairs unit ceiling, walls, floors, Also then flooded down into the basement (which adjoins my basement).

I found out when the flooded downstairs guy knocked on my door at midnight. He is a drinker and legally blind thru neglected diabetes. He "thought he heard water, but took a nap". He had no emergency plan and relied on me to look for cuttoff valves to water in basement and to find his upstairs neighbor. No valves were labled or found to her apartment. We cut off the water for the whole building with the help of a plumber ($200) She would not answer her cell phone all night. We did not know that it was her toilet until 7:00 am the next day.

Her homeowners is paying for damages because floor people won't take responsibility. I am sure the will drop her. The water remediators were lousy. They said they checked water in the basement and there was little left and none in the walls. Trust me it was literally raining in the basment for hours.

I have a drain in my adjoining basement and a dividing rough wood wall between my unit and the common basement. My dehumidifier has been working nonstop for weeks. But there is no water - right?
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Re: so, we flooded the neighbors basement...
Posted by: billb
Date: July 09, 2007 11:38AM
My nephew did the exact same thing (sort of).
Went to use the outside faucet and hose and it wouldn't work, so he just walked away (he was 7 ).
The next day the temp went above freeezing and the hose thawed out.
He hung the hose back up correctly, but didn't shut the faucet back off.

My sister called me when she found four inches of water in the basement.


Your fouindation walls and the floor are two seperate entities. It is not a hull. Water can come right in between the floor and the wall.
Water percolates through back-fill rather easily.
(it can also go back out the same way with enough time.)



Downspouts that don't direct water away from the house can cause the same problem if you have a "Texas" sized rain storm. :-)





Her pool also let go one Winter and dumped its contents straight into the neighbor's cellar.
Fire dept. pumped it outt.
I think she paid $1000.00 for cleaning, etc. rather than get the insurance company involved.
The neighbor also had a bit of a deductible and was a carpenter so they worked it out amongst themselves.



I am so glad she moved.
I was constantly fixing water problems for her.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/09/2007 11:42AM by billb.
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Re: so, we flooded the neighbors basement...
Posted by: spacescape
Date: July 09, 2007 12:19PM
Hmmm... Their drains should of been working... Why weren't they? I wouldn't of said ANYTHING. There is a chance that their basement backed up and their drains wouldn't allow it to leave the house.... You "MAY" have helped make the situation worst... I just don't know HOW a f-ing garden hose running for two days could of filled up the basement 6-8"... Something doesn't sound right...

Bill
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Re: so, we flooded the neighbors basement...
Posted by: vision63
Date: July 09, 2007 12:36PM
Well... they can always just lie to the insurance company, say it's their own fault and dave can get them the gift certificate. I think lieing is the best bet.
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Re: so, we flooded the neighbors basement...
Posted by: bfd
Date: July 09, 2007 12:44PM
People in So Cal pay hundreds of thousands for indoor swimming pools … make lemonade on this one.
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Re: so, we flooded the neighbors basement...
Posted by: Racer X
Date: July 09, 2007 12:44PM
Quote
spacescape
Hmmm... Their drains should of been working... Why weren't they? I wouldn't of said ANYTHING. There is a chance that their basement backed up and their drains wouldn't allow it to leave the house.... You "MAY" have helped make the situation worst... I just don't know HOW a f-ing garden hose running for two days could of filled up the basement 6-8"... Something doesn't sound right...

Bill

It could sure fill a swimming pool in 2 days, so why not a basement if the foundation has "issues"
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Re: so, we flooded the neighbors basement...
Posted by: spacescape
Date: July 09, 2007 12:48PM
Quote
Racer X
Quote
spacescape
Hmmm... Their drains should of been working... Why weren't they? I wouldn't of said ANYTHING. There is a chance that their basement backed up and their drains wouldn't allow it to leave the house.... You "MAY" have helped make the situation worst... I just don't know HOW a f-ing garden hose running for two days could of filled up the basement 6-8"... Something doesn't sound right...

Bill

It could sure fill a swimming pool in 2 days, so why not a basement if the foundation has "issues"

True... But, why wasn't the water going out the drains as quickly as it was coming it? At least after the water got to the drain.
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Re: so, we flooded the neighbors basement...
Posted by: tenders
Date: July 09, 2007 02:45PM
You might still need legal advice, and I am not an attorney, but I don't think the insurance company has any grounds for coming after you. Neither does your neighbor, really. You, an invited guest on your neighbor's property and not an expert plant waterer, turned the hose on at their request to water some recreational plants and probably didn't charge a fee. How competent should the neighbor have expected you to be in acting on or even recognizing an unexpected event? Were you ever fully trained in their plumbing systems? How can it be proven the flooding was your doing in the first place and that some kid didn't notice your neighbor was gone and pull a prank? Who is to say that the neighbor would have prevented the flooding from happening if he had been home? Why didn't the neighbor have a flood alarm, or why wasn't it engaged?

Let's think about this for a second, and I don't mean to suggest that my conclusions below are correct.

Say your neighbor is a farmer and he asks you, an employee of an Apple store and not a farmer, to water his fields while he goes away. You do it right but there's a faulty valve somewhere that you aren't qualified to identify. It overwaters everything after you shut it off and the crops all die. Your fault? I don't think so...does anybody else?

Similar situation, except that before he left he didn't show you how to align the valves in enough detail, you do it wrong, and the crops all die. Your fault? I don't think so, unless he proves you were out to kill his crops (malice). It might be your fault if you were drunk when you did it (negligence) but I'm not even sure about that if you did it without compensation.

Another situation: instead of asking you to water his crops, your farmer neighbor buys a $20 timed water valve from Home Depot. It fails and the crops all die. Barring a systematic defect in the valve that the manufacturer should have known about, is the manufacturer liable for any more than the cost of the timed valve? (I doubt it.) Any difference if it were a $1000 device?

Final situation: your situation. Your neighbor paid you $0 to water his stuff and probably didn't provide you with written instructions, training, tools, etc. You provided no warranty and never represented yourself as an expert. Something bad happened. How can you be liable for more than you were paid?

I think your neighbor took a risk in leaving the house, took a risk in asking you to use his plumbing on his behalf, and bears the responsibility for the results--not you.

(I agree though that it is the neighborly thing to pay his deductible and send him to dinner.)

POTENTIAL BAD NEWS ALERT: It is quite possible that the neighbor's homeowner's insurance does not cover damage from flooding. This is a frequent exclusion.
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Re: so, we flooded the neighbors basement...
Posted by: Zoidberg
Date: July 09, 2007 02:51PM
Once, years ago (when I was well over 21, which will matter in a minute), I had a car accident in downtown New Orleans. (My truck, unable to stop on a pollen-and-rain slicked road, slid into a car in front of me, who I *swear* had no brake lights) (and certainly did not have them after the crash). A week later, a lawyer called my father (then president (now CEO) of a large surveying firm he owned 100%) and informed him that he represented a person that "his son had nearly killed" in a car accident and essentially he would be suing him for ownership of his firm.

Don't underestimate what a lawyer can try to do.



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Re: so, we flooded the neighbors basement...
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: July 09, 2007 03:26PM
Zoid- amen.
.. recalling an accident when i was 17, got rear-ended by a pickup while I was stopped.. that threw the car (Parent's VW rabbit) through the air about 10 feet into the car that was stopped in front of me. They both tried to sue us.Our insurance company had sharper teeth, and they went away. . .
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Re: so, we flooded the neighbors basement...
Posted by: billb
Date: July 09, 2007 03:46PM
Quote
spacescape

True... But, why wasn't the water going out the drains as quickly as it was coming it? At least after the water got to the drain.


Not all basements have drains.
Those in flood zones (might) do.
Depends on local building codes. Builder options.



Tenders: a hose "left on" might qualify as negligence.
Lawyers love the "n" word.
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Re: so, we flooded the neighbors basement...
Posted by: graylocks
Date: July 09, 2007 04:20PM
if i were your neighbors, i'd do some investigating before alerting the insurance company. they are looking to raise rates or drop homes for the slightest provocation. i'd look into what it's going to cost first and then decide if it's small enough to absorb between you and them.

i made a few claims the insurance companies consider nickel & dime ($500 - $1500) over the course of 10 years before anyone alerted me to this fact. they never raised my rates but when a major storm dropped a tree on my house to the tune of $55, 000+, i was dropped when renewal time came. it is no picnic trying to get home owner's insurance once you have been dumped!
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Re: so, we flooded the neighbors basement...
Posted by: Grateful11
Date: July 09, 2007 04:52PM
I'd call FEMA and see if they'll declare a Federal Disaster. Seriously good luck!



Grateful11
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Re: so, we flooded the neighbors basement...
Posted by: ztirffritz
Date: July 09, 2007 05:55PM
When you live in a desert, as Dave and I do, flooding from saturation of the ground is rarely a concern. Flash floods may be an issue, but saturation floods are not...usually.



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Re: so, we flooded the neighbors basement...
Posted by: logankeene
Date: January 19, 2017 06:17AM
No problem guys, we have solution for such crisis that will settle down the flowing water easily. Good flooded basement water pump out in Queens New York having well trained expert to address your problem within least time. Clear all the water quickly before water starts causing structural damages.
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