Flood of frustration over leaky roofs: How to get landlords to repair damage

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) - As the sun shines on the Las Vegas valley once again, many are left drying out and cleaning up damage left behind by leaky roofs and even ceiling collapses. 

"It literally made me ill. It literally made me sick," said Melissa Robinson staring up at a hole in her upstairs ceiling.

"[A maintenance worker] comes upstairs and he goes, 'Oh my God!' It was literally raining in here, and he said, 'This is bad!'" said Robinson.

Robinson says water was leaking from the ceiling fan, the air vent and down a bedroom wall.

A part of the ceiling eventually collapsed leaving soaking wet insulation, carpet, and drywall.

"I said this thing is going to collapse - it's going to buckle. Everything is buckling in here," said Robinson pointing out bulges from her wall.

Robinson contacted her landlord by phone and by text message.

In Nevada, looping in your landlord at the first sign of trouble is critical.

"Weather protection of the roof is considered a habitability obligation of the landlord," said Lauren Pena the Directing Attorney Civil Law Self Help Center.

Pena says since the storm has brought in a flood of renters who are frustrated over their leaky roofs.

"If the landlord does not fix the issue, then you can terminate your lease agreement, you can sue your landlord, or you might want to consider withholding your rent," added Pena.

Here are the basic steps to take when you discover a rook leak:

  • Notify landlord in writing of the problem
    • Landlord has up to 14 days to fix the problem
  • If repairs are not made in that time frame
    • Terminate lease agreement
    • Sue landlord
    • Withhold rent

If you have any questions or want help to navigate the legal process, visit the Civil Law Self Help Center at the Regional Justice Center in person.

Contact 13 spoke directly with Robinson's landlord. The landlord says immediate action is being taken but could not give a timeline of when repairs will be completed.

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