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I recently noticed that there was water damage at the top corner of an exterior facing wall in one of my bedrooms. Previously, I had thought it was electrical wiring in the wall due to the snake-like shape of the damage. This was over a year ago. However, when I looked at this corner again recently, the drywall has split open in some parts and I strongly believe it's water damage.

I'm going to try to get some qualified repair person to come in and assess the damage. I was wondering if this community has any advice for a first-time homeowner like myself on how to handle this issue. Should I contact my insurance? What kind of serious issues should I be on the look out for? How should I handle this issue if the source of the water leak is from the apartment above mine?

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Are you a condo owner or are you renting an apartment? If you're renting, take good, clear photographs showing the location, extent, and appearance of any damage before you report it and keep dated records of all communications and changes in condition. Before doing any demolition to look into the walls or ceiling contact your landlord/HOA/POA first.

When I lived in an apartment, the landlord had some changes made to the deck above and beside my unit. It caused rainwater to run into the wall and ceiling of my unit, causing major mold and structural issues. When I moved out he tried to say I damaged the unit and bill me for the repairs but I had dated copies of photographs and letters where I notified him in writing of the leaks, resulting damage, and requested repairs, showing it went on for over a year with no response from him. I got my whole deposit back.

Can you post a picture to help us understand the extent and location of the damage?

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This is not to be taken lightly. You have several issues: 1) determine cause of leak, 2) determine if leak on your property or neighborhoods, 3) determine if there is mold, and if so, determine cost of mold abatement, 4) determine health concerns, and if so, cost of care.

1) To determine cause of leak, you may need to do some demolition. If so, insure everything is documented with pictures, sketches, etc.

2) If leak starts on your property, you can proceed. If it starts on neighbors property, document and notify neighbor.

3) Make sure a reputable company can confirm it is or is not mold. If it is mold, obtain several quotes for abatement.

4) If mold, determine if you have a health issue and determine cost of long term care.

Fixing the leak is a small part of this problem. If it’s serious, you’ll need a good attorney.

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