Carmel Partners Sticks Flood Bill to Tenant

“Though I have doubts about whether or not this will appear as anything of importance to anyone but myself, I still feel inclined to at least attempt to get this information out there. “

That’s the way Keith V.’s letter starts out to us. But we do care! Especially when a tipster is as fiery, eloquent and so clearly in-the-right as Keith is. And a company is as clearly sleazy and double-handed as Carmel Partners.

With the explosion of a sink and the searing of flesh in a spray of scalding hot water, Keith’s apartment was flooded. Upon calling his landlord, a maintenance crew moseyed on down from the apartment upstairs within a couple of hours to turn off the water. The culprit? A cracked bolt. But Carmel Partners claims that Keith broke that bolt himself when trying some extracurricular plumbing. Now they’re sticking him for $2 grand, baselessly claiming it’s his fault.

Let’s get behind Keith on this one. He’s got a newborn daughter to keep swaddled and can ill-afford $2 grand. Plus, he’s got spunk. Read his email, then jump in the comments and help him out with some advice.

Dear Consumerist,

Though I have doubts about whether or not this will appear as anything of importance to anyone but myself, I still feel inclined to at least attempt to get this information out there. Recently my apartment flooded. At the time of the occurrence we had called the emergency maintenance crew who took an entire two hours to show up and shut off the water; but if I may, let me start from the beginning. One Saturday evening as I was making my wife some hot tea I had noticed water leaking from what seemed to be underneath the dishwasher. I assume that I overloaded it and promptly opened the item to discharge the problem. I then found that it was actually leaking from underneath the sink after scrutinizing the situation. After using the shut off valve, the problem seemed to be taken care of. A few seconds later, my sink exploded in a giant splash of scalding hot water, which splattered all over my chest. Immediately after this occurrence my wife contacted the emergency maintenance phone number given to us by the management. Two hours later, and after a great deal of water damage, the water was turned off. This may not seem at all surprising to some but considering that the emergency maintenance man lives literally right above me it puzzles me as to why it took him two hours to turn off the water. He had told me that the flood was caused by a cracked bolt. They had called an extraction crew to get the water out and fix the carpets. On that following Monday, as my wife attempted to contact management on an unrelated issue, they told her that we would be billed for the damage. They also told her that they would be altering our rental agreement, with or without our signature/consent to reflect what we “owed” them.

They fabricated a statement from their maintenance man which said that I had been working on the pipes and broke the bolt which caused the flood. This is an out and out lie, as I have absolutely no desire to do any plumbing especially considering that it’s not my job to do so. Now they’re attempting to charge me over $2000 in regards to the damage. They have absolutely no proof whatsoever that I’m guilty of any wrongdoing which leads me to believe that the only reason they’re charging me is because they assume that I’m just a poor Mexican incapable of fighting back. I will not allow them to push me and my family around. The plain and simple fact remains that I’m not responsible for their shoddy plumbing work, not to mention the fact that had they properly assessed that situation and many others prior to my having moved in it would never have been an issue. On top of which we are on an extremely limited budget, by way that food is literally the only luxury we can currently afford.

I have a very difficult time scrounging up enough money to feed my daughter and ensure that she has clean diapers, let alone be maliciously forced by a large corporation (in this case Carmel Partners) to pay for damage that is legally their fault. I have very little recourse, aside from hoping to find an attorney who might be willing to take on my case as I will not back down from this. I will literally stop at nothing to ensure that these people do not steal a red cent for my pocket, I mean nothing! I even have witnesses who have told me that they are willing to testify in a court of law if necessary to ensure that this company doesn’t get away with this. I promised them that not only would I searched the world for a lawyer to take on my case but that I would also contact any media outlets willing to listen to show the country exactly what kind of company Carmel Partners is. Up until that point I had assumed that they were a good company. I had come to find out after it had occurred that this sort of thing happens often, as I was told by a number of other residents living below me who were also affected by the flood my apartment. One lady who had been living there for many years told me that this thing happens all the time; and they constantly forced the bill upon the residents because most of them are non-English speaking foreign nationals who don’t understand that they are not obligated to pay for mistakes made by the management company. I am absolutely furious at the audacity. I have up to this point only heard horror stories about people who have dealt with situations such as this, only to find at this time that I myself am now dealing with such a horror story. I am so angry right now that I could (and more importantly feel as though I should) promptly head over to the manager’s office this instant, give her an ear to ear paper cut with the bill that they have served me, and then head out to their headquarters to find the various owners of the company to force a bill of my own upon them. Unfortunately for them, I may actually be unstable enough to follow through with that… well, only time will tell and should my rage get the better of me, will be the first to have the scoop. I thank you if you have made it to this point in the letter and I hope that it wasn’t all-for-not.

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.