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Any help or advice on this situation would really be appreciated. I'm losing sleep over this

Discussion in 'Property Management' started by Arcticfire, 8th Apr, 2016.

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  1. Arcticfire

    Arcticfire Well-Known Member

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    Hi all - I need some help and advice regarding this situation

    We have an 3 unit apartment block and we were painting the outside part of the windows which had noticeable peeling paint - No other areas of the building are being painted.

    The inside of the windows were all painted several yrs ago when we renovated the apartments internally

    we engaged a licenced painter

    Halfway through the painting which appeared to be going well one of tenants raised a concern about lead paint as some of the paint flakes were coming into the kitchen bench from the open window

    This tenant has young children

    The painter said it was not a issue but we halted painting at that point and got a building inspector in to assess the situation - he had the paint flakes tested and confirm lead but said that this was in all houses and buildings built before the 80's . However he did say the painter should have followed a different protocol when painting such as wet sanding etc and any painter should have known that lead paint would be present . However the building inspector admits that most painters would not follow the protocol and just paint

    The tenant and her family have got there blood tested and lead levels have been confirmed both in there young children .

    The tenants are obviously very concerned and have moved out temporarily into a friends house who is away for a month

    The tenants have given us 2 ways to resolve the issue
    1. Fully re mediate the apartment block including painting the internal common stairway ; the entire inside of there apartment ( which has been painted only a couple or years ago and is in good condition - ie no peeling paint ) - replacing all the carpet in there unit ; decontaminate the driveway and recondition the soil in the backyard as they said the painters washed the lead paint flakes down the driveway into the backyard. While we do this we pay for the storage of there furniture and alternative accommodation - They will continue to pay there rent while this occurs

    if we cant do this

    2. find them a equivalent apartment at the same rent that is walking distance to there childrens school and pay for them to move the things

    these tenants are now on a month to month lease

    I have obtained some brief legal advice who advice me that we are under no obligation to do either and just ask them that it is better for them to leave and find alternative accommodation - is this legal advice correct ?

    I feel really bad about this and want to right by the tenant but I feel I am being pushed around here

    My property manager is trying to locate them another property but is unable to get something that they are happy with

    Any advice would really be appreciated
     
    Last edited: 8th Apr, 2016
  2. DaveM

    DaveM Adelaide Buyers Agent & KFC Strategist Business Member

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    Ask tenants to confirm that lead levels came from the paint flecks that came into their apartment and not from any other source they came into contact with over the course of the past 2 years.

    If they want to move out then let them break their lease and then decide if you will pursue break lease costs or let it rest.
     
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  3. CosmicTrevor

    CosmicTrevor Well-Known Member

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    Have the tenants put their claim in writing along with the actual test results that state unequivocally that lead levels are above normal (whatever that is) and as Dave says caused by the paint dust in your apartment - beyond reasonable doubt.
     
  4. Arcticfire

    Arcticfire Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Dave - there youngest children was born while staying at that apartment - she has never lived anywhere else - I don't know where else the child has playing though

    I'm more than happy to let themleave as they are only on month to month lease but they are making demands that we find them a similar apartment at the same rent and within walking distance to there childrens school - I really want to help them but there is nothing available and they do not want to look elsewhere
     
  5. Arcticfire

    Arcticfire Well-Known Member

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    Hi Cosmictrevor they have put there concerns in writing and I believe there tests results are correct
     
  6. Ardi

    Ardi Well-Known Member

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    Knock knock, who's there? Ivor, ivor who? Ivor come to give you your notice! Bye bye
     
  7. ellejay

    ellejay Well-Known Member

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    Who knows how far they'll continue with their demands. How can they prove it was your paint though, could have happened anywhere surely.
     
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  8. Xenia

    Xenia Adelaide Property Manager Business Member

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    Don't ask them to confirm anything and don't get into it. You would be in a legal sense admitting you are liable and turning into something that it may not be.

    I would not be getting into any of those demands either.

    Give them notice to leave, allow them the option to leave earlier without penalty. Move on and get some sleep.

    Do NOT give them a reason why lease will not be renewed.
     
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  9. Arcticfire

    Arcticfire Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the reply ellejay - i'm not sure if they can prove it that it is 100% from our property but there daughter has never lived anywhere else

    This is the only time this issue has ever been brought up in there tenancy which has been 2-3 yrs now . I have always tired to be a proactive landlord which is why I was painting the outside of the windows before the wood rot set in. I never imagined that this would be a problem . my property manage says that the as a landlord we are not expecting to now these things and that's why we hire licensed trademen who should have known that this was a issue and treated it accordingly.

    Now that we know that this is a issue - I could never remediate the entire building site and guarantee that it will be 100% safe .

    I have been advised my solicitor to thank them for bringing it to my attention and ask them that it is probably best to find alternative accomodation . I am happy for them to break the month to month lease and I am not concerned about getting break costs off them . But they are being very demanding on what they want for alternative accomodation ie same lease fee ; same size berooms ; lock up garage ; walking distance to the school - costs for them to move. There is nothing available

    I dont think I am obliged the meet these demands - am I ?
     
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  10. bob shovel

    bob shovel Well-Known Member

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    Also for your sanity find out more about lead. The dust is not an issue, I believe it is when it is in vapour form it can get into the blood, you can eat it and it passes through.
    Was on a job where there was lead, they scooped up a 1L coke bottle full and the story went that it was on the guys boots then the heater in winter helped turn to vapour and then into the blood.
     
  11. Azazel

    Azazel Well-Known Member

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    That is a bit suckworthy.
    Hope your insurance is up to date.
     
  12. thatbum

    thatbum Well-Known Member

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    I'm a lawyer that practises in the area - and its impossible even for me to say without a lot more information. I suspect your own lawyer has all the info though - I don't get why you aren't going with their advice?
     
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  13. Arcticfire

    Arcticfire Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Xenia

    I think I will talk to my PM and do what you suggest

    I feel really bad about the situation but it was never my intent to put this family in harms way - The only thing I can think of is to suggest they find alternative accommodation . I am happy to get my PM to help locate a suitable property but if there is no property that fits there requirements - I cannot see how that it my responsibility.
     
  14. Xenia

    Xenia Adelaide Property Manager Business Member

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    If they are demanding an exact same property with specific conditions they are in effect not mitigating their own situation they perceive as not safe. Personally I would not even entertain this, the PM can offer them a list of properties within the time frame but that is all they can do. Don't let them suck you into this and bring you down - which is what they are doing. :(
     
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  15. Arcticfire

    Arcticfire Well-Known Member

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    Thanks the reply thatbum. I only had a brief chat with my solicitor ( who does not do alot of stuff in this area ) this afternoon after receiving the formal letter from the tenants outlining what they want. But he feels we should thank them for bringing this issue to our attention and ask that seek alternative accommodation .

    I suspect I may need to spend more time with my solicitor or someone who specliaises in the area and get more advice
     
  16. Arcticfire

    Arcticfire Well-Known Member

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    I suppose i'm not sure if there are any legal ramifications now that there children have tested positive to increased lead levels
     
  17. Owlet

    Owlet Well-Known Member

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    If the tenants are not happy they may give you notice that they are vacating. You could waive the 14 days notice they must give and let them leave immediately. That is being understanding of their complaint.

    I am intrigued though - a few flecks of paint and the tenant takes their family straight off to the GP for lead testing? Do you have carpet in the house? If their children get asthma that will probably be your fault too. The apartment probably has asbestos too. Even though these tests may show they have whatever lead levels there is no proof that they were caused by your property. Do they have tests that show prior to living in your property they were lead free? They may visit other residences say grandparents or relatives or friends, even the kids school or childcare centre where they have had lead exposure.
     
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  18. Ardi

    Ardi Well-Known Member

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    Have they actually provided the childrens test results? After working in a lead mine for 9 years and not having high lead levels myself. I would find it hard to believe that the kids would test high due to a chance of coming across some dust that contains a ninimal level of lead.
    As above if it is really borhering you id see a lawyer and have them draft a response.
     
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  19. Arcticfire

    Arcticfire Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the reply owlet
    I agree with you I suspect that it might be difficult to prove 100% that it was from my property - there is no flaking paint as far as I am aware of inside there apartment. However the youngest child has never lived anywhere else as she was born while they lived there and according to them he has the highest blood levels of lead and they are even quoting from the US Centre of disease control stating that " there is no safe blood level in children have been identified " in there letter
     
  20. Arcticfire

    Arcticfire Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Ardi

    They said there child has 3ug/dl

    I agree I suspect I should engage my solicitor to write a reply

    But let me talk to my PM tommorow morning and nut out how to proceed

    The real problem I have is that i'm flying out for a 2 week holiday overseas on Monday and I definitely did not want this hanging over my head.