What Do I Do if My Rental Ceiling Collapses?

What Do I Do if My Rental Ceiling Collapses?

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What Do I Do if My Rental Ceiling Collapses?

No one ever expects their ceiling to collapse. It can be absolutely terrifying, especially when it happens in the place you feel most safe. Furthermore, as a renter, you expect your landlord to maintain the building and assume that structural issues will not be a problem. But what if something unexpected does happen? What if the ceiling collapses in the place you are renting? 

If you or your loved ones are in the home when it happens, severe injury is possible. Even if no one is home, damage to your personal property might also occur. In some instances, your landlord may be responsible for any damage that happens as a result of the ceiling collapse in your rental. 

Consulting an attorney when your ceiling collapses in a rental property is the best way to find out if your landlord is responsible for the damage. When you contact Morgan & Morgan, we can help you understand your rights as a renter and advise you on how to move forward. Morgan & Morgan has been assisting renters with these types of issues for decades. Don’t hesitate to reach out so we can connect you with a ceiling collapse rental attorney. Contact us today for a free case evaluation, and we can connect you with a qualified ceiling collapse lawyer in FL.

The following are some steps you should take if your rental ceiling collapses:

1. Provide documentation of all maintenance records. Having a history of maintenance is vital in establishing if there was anything your landlord could have done to prevent a ceiling collapse. Keeping records of any water spots or other issues with your ceiling and when you reported them to your landlord will help to show what your landlord knew and when. If you live on the first floor of a condo or apartment building, you are not expected to know what is going on with the roof outside. However, if there are any water stains or leaks that become visible inside your unit, you must notify your landlord, so they have the opportunity to fix the issue. If you have documentation that you notified your landlord and they cannot prove that they addressed the issue, they may be responsible for the collapse, and you may be entitled to damages.
 
2. Document all consequences of the ceiling collapse. Make a list and take photos of everything that occurred as a result of the ceiling collapse. If anyone was hurt, make sure you keep copies of the medical bills and any other documents that are relevant to their treatment. Having records of all the damage caused by the ceiling collapse will help your attorney determine how much compensation you are entitled to. Keep in mind that you should always take pictures when you first move in so you can show the initial condition of your property. 
 
3. Seek medical attention if you were inside the structure at the time of the collapse. Even if you were not in the same room as the ceiling collapse in your rental, you should consider seeking medical attention if you were in the same building. Pieces of debris can cause injury that you do not notice, or you could breathe in toxic mold or dust in some instances. After the incident, seeking medical treatment will help ensure your health and safety and could be a cost that is covered in your ceiling collapse rental claim. 
 
4. Contact an attorney. It can be hard to tell if your landlord is responsible for any damages caused by the collapse of a ceiling. If your landlord was negligent, you will need to prove that in court. There may also be other people who can be held responsible, such as property management companies, workers who improperly repaired the ceiling previously, or construction companies who did a poor job to begin with. Consulting with a lawyer specializing in construction issues like ceiling collapse in rentals will help you resolve your problems.

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FAQ

Get answers to commonly asked questions about our legal services and learn how we may assist you with your case.

Rental Ceiling Collapse FAQs

  • How long do I have to file a claim?

    You should speak with a ceiling collapse rental attorney as soon as you can after the ceiling collapse occurs. The statute of limitations varies depending on local and state laws. Consulting with a lawyer as soon as the event happens can help you determine what steps to take. Depending on who is at fault, you may be offered a settlement by the property managers or insurance companies. You will want an attorney to assist you in exploring your options and possibly negotiating a better offer. 

    You also have to consider the rental agreement you have signed with your landlord. You may be in breach of contract if you withhold rent after the ceiling collapse, even if the damage has not been fixed and you have not been compensated. You do not want to hurt your case by refusing to pay rent. An attorney can guide you through your legal options and responsibilities. 

  • Do I need an attorney if my ceiling collapses?

    The short answer is yes. You may not be sure who is responsible for the damage. It may not be the fault of the landlord, so it can be confusing sometimes. If you alerted your landlord to water spots, and they hired a contractor to diagnose and fix the problem but failed to do so or made the structure unsafe, the contractor may be liable for the damages. It can also be challenging to determine the actual costs of the ceiling collapse in a rental, especially if you or your loved ones are injured. Lost wages, medical expenses, and pain and suffering are all items that you should consider in your claim. These factors are best determined by an experienced lawyer who can help you get the damages you deserve.

  • Do I have to pay rent if I can’t live in my rental?

    This depends on your rental agreement and local and state landlord/tenant laws. There might be provisions in the rental contract that allow you to withhold rent if the property is uninhabitable. There are almost certainly landlord/tenant laws that allow the withholding of rent, but it’s essential to speak with a lawyer first since the rules change depending on what city and state you reside in. You do not want to sue your landlord for damages and then be countersued for non-payment of rent. 

  • What damages can I claim if my ceiling collapses?

    Consulting with an attorney is the best way to determine all the damages you can recover. Understanding your rights to compensation can be overwhelming and hard to understand. However, in general, you should be able to claim damages such as:

    • Medical expenses: Any emergency transportation to the hospital, surgery, hospitalization, medical equipment, and medications that result from the ceiling collapse may be recoverable.
    • Rehabilitation costs: Suffering a severe injury from the ceiling collapse may require ongoing rehabilitation and medical treatment that can last for months or years after the incident.
    • Permanent injuries: If you or your loved one suffers permanent injury or disability, you may be compensated for those injuries.  
    • Lost income: Not only will you lose time at work due to your recovery from any injuries from the ceiling collapse itself, but you may also be unable to work in the future or only be able to work in a limited capacity. Therefore, you may be entitled to lost income compensation.
    • Temporary housing costs: Since the property will be unsafe to inhabit, you will have to live somewhere else while repairs are being made. This is another cost that you will likely want to recover and may be entitled to. 
    • Pain and suffering: This is quite subjective and best assessed by your attorney, but it’s certainly possible that you will be entitled to these types of damages. It will also depend on which state you reside in.
  • Will I have to pay my lawyer upfront?

    Most personal injury attorneys will work with you on a contingent fee basis. This means your lawyer will receive a percentage of what you are awarded in court, often about 30 to 40 percent of your total settlement or award at trial. However, you should discuss this during your initial consultation before you sign a contract and agree to hire a ceiling collapse rental attorney. Some other fees to consider include court filings and requests for medical records. These expenses can add up, and you may be presented with a bill that is several thousand dollars or more.

    Knowing exactly what fees and expenses your attorney will charge you is important to know as soon as possible. A good ceiling collapse lawyer should explain exactly how these fees will be expected to be paid and they will then give you an approximate cost of how much everything will amount to.

  • Morgan & Morgan Is Here to Assist You

    If the ceiling has collapsed in your rental property, and the damage is significant and people have been injured, you need an experienced attorney to discuss your legal options. Even in a minor collapse proper legal advice can save you money and clear up any confusion you may have about what to do. Knowing and understanding all of your options is essential before taking any settlements from your landlord or insurance company. Getting proper medical care if you or a loved one is injured is your first step if your ceiling collapses. Contacting an attorney is your second step. The attorneys at Morgan & Morgan have decades of experience with clients who have suffered at the hands of negligent landlords and contractors. If you have been injured or suffered property damage because of a ceiling collapse in a rental, contact us as soon as possible for a free initial consultation.

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