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California Water Damage and Renter’s Rights

3/20/2019 (Permalink)

Storm Damage California Water Damage and Renter’s Rights Water seeping into a home from a rainstorm.

California renter’s rights protect tenants from expensive repair costs, including water damage.

Southern California experienced torrential rains ... forcing hundreds of residents to evacuate, opening sink holes and causing dangerous mudslides — one of the strongest storms in years for the area.

Most cities have fire departments willing and able to help when flood emergencies arise, especially if the situation is life-threatening. Flooding can cause electrical hazards. "Never turn power on or off yourself or use an electrical tool or appliance while standing in water," warns the National Center for Disease Control website.

Many buildings have an electrical shut-off box outside the unit on a main electrical panel. Find out where the electric shut-off switch is before a disaster.

Another concern is contamination from sewage in standing water. "Discard food that may have been in contact with floodwaters," recommends the Governor's Office of Emergency Services (www.oes.ca.gov).

Once the water flow has been staunched, there probably will be damage to repair.

"Tenants have a right to decent housing, free from habitability or code violations," said Ron Brown, director of the Human Rights and Fair Housing Commission in Sacramento.

Both state and local housing codes require landlords to maintain their property for renters in habitable condition. This covers dwelling needs that include effective waterproofing, weather protection and heating facilities that are in good working order.

Most laws focus on health and safety issues. Basic details can be found through the California Department of Consumer Affairs site at www.dca.ca.gov/legal/landlordbook.

Tenants have a duty under state law to inform the landlord promptly of needed repairs, preferably in writing. Vivid details, such as "water is coming in through my front door through a low spot when it rains," are useful. If possible, take photographs of the problem. Follow up with a friendly phone call.

Although tenants on the scene can stem the tide of damage, repairs should not be undertaken without going through proper channels.

State law allows landlords about 30 days to do most repairs. What if the landlord ignores written notice for flood or other repair work? If a unit is uninhabitable and 30 days have passed, tenants have several options, including making repairs and deducting them from the rent, withholding the rent, suing the landlord and moving.

Under State Civil Code 1941, the repair-and-deduct remedy may be applied only twice in a 12-month period and cannot exceed the monthly rental amount.

What if a tenant thinks the rent should be withheld because the place is uninhabitable? If damage amounts to more than two months' rent, be prepared to provide proof. And be aware that putting a dollar value on the inconvenience of wet carpet and fans running 24 hours to dry it out may be tricky to prove.

If rent is withheld, the situation can get complicated. According to the California Department of Consumer Affairs, "if a landlord brings an eviction action against a tenant for nonpayment of rent, and the unit is found to be uninhabitable, the landlord is liable to the tenant for reasonable attorney's fees and court costs."

Several new laws took effect Jan. 1, 2004. In a supplement to State Civil Code 1941.1, California law prohibits a landlord from collecting or demanding rent on an uninhabitable dwelling. The law also allows tenants to seek damages after inspection by a housing official. A notice of violation has to have been issued to the landlord, and the violation must have remained 60 days after the landlord received notice before a suit can be filed.

Consulting a legal professional is always a good idea before deducting rent or bringing a lawsuit.

 To read this article from the Los Angeles Times cllick the link: 

Los Angeles Times

Suffering a water loss can be a hectic and stressful time. Emotions run high and often times you don’t even know where to start! The first step should always be to identify the source of incoming water then shutoff or stop the water source if possible. Next make sure to turn off all electrical appliances around the affected area to reduce electrical hazards and turn off the circuit breakers supplying electricity to the wet areas. You will want to remove excess water by mopping or blotting and make sure to never use a regular vacuum to remove water! Keep furniture safe from additional damage by placing aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpeting/flooring and make sure to call SERVPRO of West Riverside City at (951)-351-8033 to come assess the damage and get the drying process started immediately.  Since we are locally owned and operated, we are able to respond quickly and with the right resources. A fast response lessens the damage, limits further damage, and reduces the restoration cost.

How to Find Your Riverside Home's Main Water Shut Off Valve

3/18/2019 (Permalink)

No one expects pipes to burst, water heaters to break, or toilets and washers to overflow.  If this happens, your quick response along with the highly trained specialists from SERVPRO of West Riverside City will limit your damages and potentially save you thousands of dollars! Here are some tips for locating water shut-off valves on your property.

Source: The Spruce…

Finding the Water Shut-Off Valves

Some things in life are worth learning before it's too late—like the locations of your water shut-off valves. If a water pipe springs a leak, knowing where the shut-off valve is could save you thousands in water damage repairs. What's more, you can't make those major plumbing repairs or improvements unless you first turn off the water.

Home water systems contain two types of shut-off valves: main or master shutoff valves for stopping the flow of water to the entire house and individual or supply shut-off valves for specific appliances and fixtures.

Before Anything Else, Try to Cut Off Water Close to Source

If you have a leak at your toilet, sink, clothes washer, or ice maker, shut off water close to the source:

  • Toilet:  Look under the toilet, against the wall.  You will see flexible metal tubing.  Turn the handle clockwise until the handle stops.  Do not force.
  • Sink:  Look under the sink cabinet.  You will see two sets of flexible metal or plastic tubing.  Turn clockwise.
  • Clothes Washer:  Some houses have the valves clearly exposed above and behind the washer.  Turn both valves clockwise.  If you do not see these valves, slide the washer outward and you will likely see them.
  • Dishwashers: The water supply tube running to the dishwasher often has a fixture shutoff valve controlling it. In many cases, this is also located under the kitchen sink base cabinet, and it may be close proximity to the sink faucet shut-off valves. 
  • Refrigerator ice makers/water dispensers: The small copper or mesh supply tube running to the refrigerator usually has a small saddle valve or other devices that can be shut off to close down the water supply. 

Now for the main water shut-offs to the house…

  •  Water Main:  Locate Shut-Off Valve Within the House

This is the best way to shut off water in your house.  It will cut off your home's entire water supply, allowing you to open up any pipe within the house.

Unlike the main water valve, it should be easy to access and not involve special tools or digging. (The only problem is that not everyone has one. In this case, turn off the pump at the electrical box.)

But where would you find yours?  Put on your detective's hat for this one.  Suggestions:

  • Inside/Outside Perimeter:  In most cases, it will be near the perimeter of the house—like the outside wall in a utility area where the main water line enters the house, or on an outside wall near the water meter. This valve will always be located on the house side of the water meter and is usually a rather large valve. 
  • Ground Level:  Keep your focus on-grade.  If on a ground level floor, you will be looking down.
  • Path of Least Resistance:  Imagine a straight line extending from your outdoor water meter to the nearest point of your home's exterior perimeter.  Water lines will take the shortest path to get to a house.  Where that line meets your house is likely where the house's shut-off is located.
  • Check Inspection Report:  If you still have your property inspection report from when you purchased the house, it should indicate the location of the shut-off valve.  Inspection reports often follow a standardized format, so you may find this information located in Section 6.1.
  • Access Panels:  Look for any kind of access panel.  Water cut-off valves are not supposed to be sealed up behind drywall.  However, your home's previous owner may have unwisely sealed the valve behind a wall.  Most homeowners--and any legitimate contractor--will create an access panel around the valve.

Where It Is Not:  It is likely not under a sink.  The shut-off to the water heater may look promising, but that only affects the outflow of hot water from that point.  Do not confuse the gas shut-off to the furnace or water heater with water lines.

  • Water Main:  Locate Main Shut-Off Value Outside By Meter

If the previous two options fail, try to shut off the water main outside.  

This will cut off all water in the house.  This is the most rigorous option and will involve tools, and possibly even tools that you do not have on hand.  It is dirty work and may involve digging.

Locate the round, square, or rectangular steel or iron lid.  Lift the lid and set the lid to the side.  If there is dirt or sand, remove gently with your hand or a garden trowel.  Do not discard.  If you live in a climate that freezes in the winter, this sand/dirt is required to prevent the pipes from freezing and bursting.

After clearing the box, you will see three things:

  • Water Meter:  A glass-covered meter that may have a secondary cover to protect the glass.  Ignore this as it has nothing to do with shutting off the water.
  • Water Company's Shut-Off Valve:  This will be on the street side of the water meter.  See attached image.  This turn-off is designed so that only the water company can turn it off with a special tool.  Do not turn this off.  Even if you manage to get a Vise-Grip or Crescent wrench on this, you would find it exceedingly difficult to turn.
  • Your Shut-Off Valve:  This will be on the house side of the water meter.  It may have a knob for turning or it may have a nut.  There is no standard size for this nut.  For example, some are 3/8" and require a ratchet wrench with an extender for access.  Turn this clock-wise.

If you need help locating your main water shut-off valves, you can schedule a service call for SERVPRO of West Riverside City to come out and assist you. Call us at 951-351-8033 if you are interested. It would be money well spent to protect your home investment.

Black Mold and your Dog

3/13/2019 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation Black Mold and your Dog Ellie, our mascot, appreciates the care we take for all furry friends.

The impacts to our furry friends. From our friends at WAG:  

When we find black mold in our homes, we are often surprised. For many people, black mold is found as a result of a home renovation or just moving an appliance that has been in place for many years. People can become sick from black mold for years before they understand what has caused them to be so ill. This exposure to black mold can make your dog sick as well. Much like infants and the elderly, dogs tend to be more susceptible to illnesses related to black mold than their adult owners.

Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms common to black mold exposure appear in other conditions as well. It is easy, as happens with humans, to treat symptoms of black mold exposure in your dog as different conditions or illnesses. If your dog has been exposed to black mold, you may see some of the following symptoms:

  • Excessive licking, especially on your dog's paws
  • Loss of fur in small areas
  • Coughing Sneezing Discharge from eyes and nose
  • Noisy or labored breathing
  • Lethargy and listlessness
  • Lack of appetite
  • Behavioral changes
  • Care and Treatment

    If your dog is affected by black mold, you will need to do two things. The symptoms of black mold exposure will need to be treated by your veterinarian. Your veterinarian may prescribe antibiotics for symptoms such as bacterial infections in the lungs or on your dog’s skin. Your dog may also be prescribed steroids or other drugs depending on how long their exposure was and how sick the dog is. Your doctors may also request you not return the dog to the home until the black mold has been mitigated. Working in your dog's best interest, it might also be recommended you and your animals say out of the home until removal is complete, because treatment will not help if exposure to mold continues.  

    The second step of caring for your dog who has after black exposure is complete mold removal. Black mold within your home affects humans as well as your dogs. To continue medical treatment for yourself as well as for your dog and improve efficacy, the mold will have to be completely removed from the home. The Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, recommends hiring a mold remediation team because of their professional training if the mold discovered in your home covers an area greater than ten square feet, if black mold is caused by contaminated water or sewage, or if you have mold within your air duct system. If you are comfortable removing the mold on your own, be sure to clean the hard to reach spots and do your research on do-it-yourself mold removal to reduce the number of spores released into the air and onto your skin during the removal process.

    Risk and Prevention

    Dogs who are exposed to black mold can have more serious health problems than some owners face when exposed to black mold. The only way to prevent black mold exposure from recurring is to ensure the mold is completely removed. Black mold can cause serious illness in humans as well as for their pets. If you suspect your dog has been exposed to black mold or if your dog is sick for extended periods of time with no diagnosis and no relief, consider taking him to your veterinarian for testing of mold exposure. Some areas of the United States are more susceptible to black mold growth, such as moist, humid climates where weather brings rain, hurricanes, or flooding often. However, even in a dry climate, a leak from faulty refrigerator water line for an extended period of time could cause black mold growth within your home.

    Read more at: https://wagwalking.com/wellness/black-mold-and-your-dog

    Tips for Keeping Your Pet Safe From Mold

    A good rule of thumb is to develop the habit of keeping anything your pet comes in contact with clean and dry:

  • Keep pet food in a sealed container in a cold, dry area (freezer)
  • Wash food and water bowls at least once a day and throw out plastic dishes
  • Launder your pet's bedding frequently, and immediately if it becomes damp
  • Wash pet toys once a week
  • What Should You Do If You Spot Mold in Your Home?

    If the issue is small and contained, you can usually tackle it on your own by washing the surface with a soap and water solution. However, if you face recurring or widespread growth, hire a professional mold remediation team.

    If mold is putting your household’s health at risk, the trusted professionals at SERVPRO® of West Riverside City will put your home on the path to wellness. As leading mold remediation and restoration service experts, we know how to tackle mold growth strategically. Equipped with heavy-duty cleaning tools, our crews will not only remove spots, but also implement solutions to control moisture and prevent the problem from returning.  

    To arrange fast and effective clean-up, call a helpful representative at 951-351-8033 today. We care about your family and that includes your beloved pets.  

    SERVPRO Cleaning Fire Damage in West Riverside City

    3/11/2019 (Permalink)

    Fire Damage SERVPRO Cleaning Fire Damage in West Riverside City This was the result of a Riverside home fire, SERVPRO provided quality service and care for this customers property.

    SERVPRO Categorizes Fire and Smoke Damage

    After a fire, most of the damage to Riverside homes comes from smoke and odor residues that rest on and even penetrate some surfaces like building material and furniture. To fully clean and remove them requires not just experience, but also the right tools.

    SERVPRO places fire damage to Riverside homes into three categories: Minor, Medium, and Major. We make this determination for odors and smoke residues depending on how far out they extend from the fire point of origin and how strong the odor or how thick the residue is in each room.

    With Minor damage, odors are mild and usually removed with the same cleaning agents we use smoke residues on ceilings, floors, walls, and furniture. The residues themselves are normally light-to-moderate in this category and are limited to only a few rooms. Our technicians can remove all of these with sponges or cloths and hand-spraying a cleaning agent when needed.

    Medium damage happens with hotter fires. They produce stronger odors, thicker residues, and spread them throughout more of the home. In this category, a cleaning agent is needed to break up the residues to remove them. Simply cleaning the building material and property does not eliminate all odors in this category, so SERVPRO technicians use an additional deodorizing agent to destroy the odor-causing particles.

    To get rid of them, SERVPRO technicians use pressure sprayers and injectors to distribute deodorizing agents. The pressure sprayers are excellent for covering large surfaces such as kitchen walls or living room carpets with either a deodorizer or a cleaning agent. We use the injectors to apply a small amount of deodorizer directly into a small stain in carpets or upholstered furniture.

    Major damage occurs close to the fire’s point of origin. Odors are exceptionally strong, and standard deodorizers do not remove all of them. If the fire burned hot enough to cause structural damage, then the smoke residues are exceptionally thick here and spread through the entire home. The level of residue makes removal of building material like drywall cheaper than attempting to clean it. The same may apply to furniture and other personal property due to the extent of the damage or the cost of cleaning.

    For heavily covered property, we use an immersion tank to soak and remove the residue in a cleaning agent. We do this only for items not further damaged by soaking. To remove the odors when the usual agents do not work, our technicians bring in an ozone machine. This device generates a gas that oxidizes the odor particles. This gas alters them and removes the odor completely. The drawback to using an ozone machine is we need to evacuate the home of people, pets, and any items made from natural rubber until we finish the procedure.

    SERVPRO has the certification and experience to address all levels of fire damage.  But what about smoke?  Did you know that there are two different types of smoke? Wet and dry.

    There are two different types of smoke- wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire. Before restoration begins, SERVPRO of West Riverside City will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred

    Smoke and soot is very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home, causing hidden damage and odor. Our smoke damage expertise and experience allows us to accurately assess the extent of the damage to develop a comprehensive plan of action.

    Wet smoke - Plastic and Rubber

    • Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.

    Dry Smoke - Paper and Wood

    • Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefore smoke rises.

    Protein Fire Residue - Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire

    • Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor.

    Our Fire Damage Restoration Services

    Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions. We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and smoke damage. We will also treat your family with empathy and respect and your property with care.

    Have questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?

    Restoring your home after a fire is not a quick process, but SERVPRO of West Riverside City is here with you at each step. If you need our services, call us at (951) 351-8033 today.

    There are many companies that you can choose from when it comes to fire restoration in your home. Our crew works to provide the best quality service encompassing the work that we do in your home and our commitment to providing the best in customer consideration. If you experience a fire in your home, trust the team at SERVPRO of West Riverside City to help you get things back to pre-damage condition.

    Locally Owned Company with National Resources

    Contact SERVPRO of West Riverside City for full-service solutions to emergency situations that may occur on your property, or schedule your home’s initial inspection, today.

    Call anytime at (951) 351-8033, were available 24/7 for your emergency needs.

    Part II NIOSH Warns of Hazards during Cleanup Work Following Forest Fires

    3/7/2019 (Permalink)

    Fire Damage Part II NIOSH Warns of Hazards during Cleanup Work Following Forest Fires Woolsey fire destroyed many homes and businesses.

    The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) warns workers and volunteers of the potential dangers involved with cleanup operations following the devastation caused by forest fires.

    Because the level of experience varies among these workers, cleanup crews must work together and look out for one another to ensure safety.

    NIOSH urgently requests your assistance in disseminating the following warnings to all those involved in cleanup work following forest fires. The potential work-related hazards listed here are described below in greater detail: Confined Spaces, Power Line Hazards, Agricultural Hazards, Stress and Fatigue. Additional key resources on health and safety hazards related to fire fighting can be found on the NIOSH web site under the “spotlights” section titled “Fighting Wildfires” (http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/firefighting/).

    PREVENTION MEASURES

    First Aid

    First aid, even for minor cuts and burns, is extremely important. Immediately clean out all open wounds and cuts with soap and clean water. Most cuts, except minor scratches, sustained during cleanup activities will warrant treatment to prevent tetanus. If you are injured, contact a physician to determine the necessary type of treatment.

    Protective Equipment

    For most clean-up work activities, you will need the following personal protective equipment: hard hats, safety goggles, heavy work gloves, and watertight boots with steel toe and insole (not just steel shank). For information on what equipment you need for protection, contact your local OSHA office or NIOSH.

    Excessive noise from equipment such as chain saws, backhoes, tractors, pavement breakers, blowers, and from heavy equipment (e.g., earth moving equipment, helicopters) may cause ringing in the ears and subsequent hearing damage. If working with any noise that you must shout over to be heard, you should wear earplugs or other hearing protection devices.

    Working in Confined Spaces

    If you are required to work in a boiler, furnace, pipeline, pit, pumping station, septic tank, sewage digester, storage tank, utility vault, well, silo, or similar enclosed structures, you should be aware of the hazards of working in confined spaces. A confined space has one or more of the following characteristics:

    • limited openings for entry or exit;
    • unfavorable natural ventilation; or
    • is not designed for continuous worker occupancy.

    Toxic gases, a lack of oxygen, or explosive conditions may exist in the confined area, resulting in a potentially deadly atmosphere. Because many toxic gases and vapors cannot be seen or smelled, never trust your senses to determine if safe entry is possible. Never enter a confined space unless you have been properly trained, even to rescue a fellow worker! If you need to enter a confined space and do not have the proper training and equipment, contact your local fire department for assistance.

    Working On or Near Power Lines [Recommendations for Utility Workers ONLY]

    Several workers have died of electrocution following natural disasters. Workers and employers must take extreme caution while attempting to restore power or clear areas near downed power lines. In one instance, a worker lost his life while removing trees from a de-energized power line that had been knocked down by a storm. While inspecting the completed work, the man stepped on the line and was electrocuted by "feedback" energy from a portable backup generator at a nearby gas station. Feedback energy occurs when a de-energized line becomes energized by a secondary power source.

    Another worker died cleaning branches from a power line, following a storm. He was electrocuted after falling from a tree onto a line thought to be de-energized. Although the workers had opened a fused switch on a transformer, the line remained energized through another transformer.

    If you are working on or near power lines, the following steps may save your life:

    • Treat all power lines as energized until you have followed the required procedures for personally de-energizing and testing them with an appropriate testing device. Do not rely on "fuzzing" to determine if a power line has been de-energized. 
    • Verifying that a line is not energized may not ensure your safety. You must also ground lines on both the load and supply sides of the work area. Grounding is necessary to protect you from the hazards of feedback electrical energy from a secondary power source, such as a portable generator. 
    • When restoring power in underground vaults, added precautions are necessary to avoid explosion hazards. As vaults containing electrical connections are drained or pumped out, and energized, potentially explosive gases may form. If you are required to work in a utility vault, refer to the Confined Spaces section of this Fact Sheet.

    RESPIRATORY HAZARDS

    If you are involved in cleanup efforts you may be exposed to ash, soot and fire decomposition products that may cause irritation and other respiratory effects. Spoiled and/or wet vegetation and other organic/agricultural materials often grow large amounts of bacteria and mold during warm weather. Breathing these organisms and the organic dust produced may cause lung disease. Use proper engineering controls to exhaust and replenish adequate fresh air if working indoors. A high efficiency particulate air (HEPA)-type vacuum is recommended when cleaning surfaces contaminated with dust. The use of a typical household vacuum should be avoided since it will re-suspend the collected dust into the air. When exposure to dusts cannot be controlled or avoided, exposure can be reduced by routine use of a well-fitted NIOSH-certified air-purifying respirator (such as an N-95 or more protective respirator).

    STRESS, LONG HOURS, AND FATIGUE MAY INCREASE THE RISKS FOR INJURY AND ILLNESS

    Continued long hours of work, combined with emotional and physical exhaustion and losses from damaged homes and temporary job layoffs, can create a highly stressful situation for cleanup workers. Workers exposed to these stressful conditions have an increased risk of injury and emotional crisis, and are more vulnerable to stress-induced illnesses and disease. Emotional support from family members, neighbors, and local mental health professionals can help to prevent more serious stress-related problems in the difficult months ahead. People working in all phases of cleanup work can reduce their risks of injury and illness in several ways: 

    • Set priorities for cleanup tasks and pace the work over several days (or weeks). Avoid physical exhaustion. 
    • Resume a normal sleep schedule as quickly as possible. Get plenty of rest and take frequent rest breaks BEFORE exhaustion builds up. 
    • Take advantage of disaster relief programs and services in your community. 
    • Be alert to emotional exhaustion or strain. When family members and neighbors are unavailable for emotional support, consult professionals at community health and mental health centers.

    For more information about these or other occupational safety and health topics contact NIOSH at:

    1-800-35-NIOSH (1-800-356-4674)

    Fax: 513: 533-8573

    E-mail: pubstaft@cdc.gov

    www.cdc.gov/niosh

    California Water Damage and Renter’s Rights

    3/7/2019 (Permalink)

    Storm Damage California Water Damage and Renter’s Rights Water seeping into a home from a rainstorm.

    California renter’s rights protect tenants from expensive repair costs, including water damage.

    Southern California experienced torrential rains ... forcing hundreds of residents to evacuate, opening sink holes and causing dangerous mudslides — one of the strongest storms in years for the area.

    Most cities have fire departments willing and able to help when flood emergencies arise, especially if the situation is life-threatening. Flooding can cause electrical hazards. "Never turn power on or off yourself or use an electrical tool or appliance while standing in water," warns the National Center for Disease Control website.

    Many buildings have an electrical shut-off box outside the unit on a main electrical panel. Find out where the electric shut-off switch is before a disaster.

    Another concern is contamination from sewage in standing water. "Discard food that may have been in contact with floodwaters," recommends the Governor's Office of Emergency Services (www.oes.ca.gov).

    Once the water flow has been staunched, there probably will be damage to repair.

    "Tenants have a right to decent housing, free from habitability or code violations," said Ron Brown, director of the Human Rights and Fair Housing Commission in Sacramento.

    Both state and local housing codes require landlords to maintain their property for renters in habitable condition. This covers dwelling needs that include effective waterproofing, weather protection and heating facilities that are in good working order.

    Most laws focus on health and safety issues. Basic details can be found through the California Department of Consumer Affairs site at www.dca.ca.gov/legal/landlordbook.

    Tenants have a duty under state law to inform the landlord promptly of needed repairs, preferably in writing. Vivid details, such as "water is coming in through my front door through a low spot when it rains," are useful. If possible, take photographs of the problem. Follow up with a friendly phone call.

    Although tenants on the scene can stem the tide of damage, repairs should not be undertaken without going through proper channels.

    State law allows landlords about 30 days to do most repairs. What if the landlord ignores written notice for flood or other repair work? If a unit is uninhabitable and 30 days have passed, tenants have several options, including making repairs and deducting them from the rent, withholding the rent, suing the landlord and moving.

    Under State Civil Code 1941, the repair-and-deduct remedy may be applied only twice in a 12-month period and cannot exceed the monthly rental amount.

    What if a tenant thinks the rent should be withheld because the place is uninhabitable? If damage amounts to more than two months' rent, be prepared to provide proof. And be aware that putting a dollar value on the inconvenience of wet carpet and fans running 24 hours to dry it out may be tricky to prove.

    If rent is withheld, the situation can get complicated. According to the California Department of Consumer Affairs, "if a landlord brings an eviction action against a tenant for nonpayment of rent, and the unit is found to be uninhabitable, the landlord is liable to the tenant for reasonable attorney's fees and court costs."

    Several new laws took effect Jan. 1, 2004. In a supplement to State Civil Code 1941.1, California law prohibits a landlord from collecting or demanding rent on an uninhabitable dwelling. The law also allows tenants to seek damages after inspection by a housing official. A notice of violation has to have been issued to the landlord, and the violation must have remained 60 days after the landlord received notice before a suit can be filed.

    Consulting a legal professional is always a good idea before deducting rent or bringing a lawsuit.

     To read this article from the Los Angeles Times cllick the link: 

    Los Angeles Times

    Suffering a water loss can be a hectic and stressful time. Emotions run high and often times you don’t even know where to start! The first step should always be to identify the source of incoming water then shutoff or stop the water source if possible. Next make sure to turn off all electrical appliances around the affected area to reduce electrical hazards and turn off the circuit breakers supplying electricity to the wet areas. You will want to remove excess water by mopping or blotting and make sure to never use a regular vacuum to remove water! Keep furniture safe from additional damage by placing aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpeting/flooring and make sure to call SERVPRO of West Riverside City at (951)-351-8033 to come assess the damage and get the drying process started immediately.  Since we are locally owned and operated, we are able to respond quickly and with the right resources. A fast response lessens the damage, limits further damage, and reduces the restoration cost.

    5 Common Questions Regarding Home Restoration Insurance Claims

    3/6/2019 (Permalink)

    Why SERVPRO 5 Common Questions Regarding Home Restoration Insurance Claims Fire, Water, Mold? Call SERVPRO of West Riverside City

    Whether your home is damaged by a flood or a fire, getting things back to the way they were can take time—and money.

    However, when you have the support of your home insurance policy and a trusted restoration company, you can save yourself from the heavy stress and high expenses that are associated with water and fire damage repairs. Since navigating restoration insurance claims can be complex, SERVPRO of West Riverside City answers a few common questions homeowners have about the process.  

    5 FAQs About Using Home Insurance for Water & Fire Damage Repairs

    Will Water & Fire Damage Repairs Be Covered By My Policy?

    Technically, most home insurance providers cover restoration work related to fire and water damage. However, this damage typically has to be connected to an event that is covered by your policy—also known as a “peril.” For instance, plumbing emergencies and electrical fires may be acceptable perils, but floods may require additional coverage.

    Will Putting Off Repairs Affect My Insurance Policy?

    In some cases, fire and water damage may seem minor enough to put off repairs. But, if more damage occurs as a result of negligence, your insurance company may not cover those future claims. By staying proactive and making repairs as soon as possible, you can protect yourself against denied claims down the road.

    Should I Call My Insurance Company Before the Restoration Company?

    When you have a water and fire damage repair company in mind, it is often best to call them before reaching out to your insurance provider. These professionals will fully document the damage, making it easier to file an accurate claim. They will also provide the proactive care to keep your home safe, as well as prevent further damage.

    Can I Choose My Own Restoration Provider?

    If you do call your insurance provider first, they may recommend a company for your home repairs. While it’s perfectly acceptable to use these references, it is not required. In fact, it is your right as a policyholder to choose who repairs your property.

    When Should I Pay Out-of-Pocket?

    If your insurance deductible is higher than the cost of the repairs, it is generally best to pay out-of-pocket. In these instances, you would have been required to pay the whole price anyway without any coverage from your provider. However, many water and fire restoration jobs will exceed the cost of the deductible.

    In a perfect world, homeowners would always be able to avoid these situations—but accidents still happen. Fortunately, it’s easy to stay prepared when you have SERVPRO of West Riverside City at your side. Providing everything from mold remediation to fire damage repairs, this restoration company will ensure you receive fast, expert care. Visit them online to learn more about their services or call (951) 351-8033 to request 24/7 emergency assistance.

    Why Choose SERVPRO?

  • SERVPRO of West Riverside City recognizes the necessity for prompt and accurate response and offer 1-4-8 Response Guidelines to help minimize additional, secondary or permanent damage and contamination. In addition, SERVPRO of West Riverside City is available for emergency response 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
  • Knowledge and training are key elements in effective water removal and moisture damage. SERVPRO of West Riverside City applies their industry knowledge, training and understanding of how relative humidity, temperature, vapor pressure and air movement influence drying conditions.
  • Powerful and professional equipment is essential for proper mitigation and efficient restoration of water damaged areas. SERVPRO of West Riverside City is outfitted with state-of-the-art industrial grade equipment and products to measure the extent of moisture saturation and offer proper drying, deodorizing and disinfecting of water damaged areas.
  • SERVPRO of West Riverside City offers content restoration to restore water damaged contents and personal belongings. Often when water damage occurs, personal possessions are also damaged by water or moisture. SERVPRO Technicians work diligently to try and return personal contents to preloss conditions.
  • SERVPRO of West Riverside City works with insurance, real estate, contracting and property management companies to offer complete file management, estimates and detailed explanations of work, including status updates, changes and feedback to keep companies fully aware of a property’s drying, cleaning and restoration status. SERVPRO of West Riverside City we know you want quality information and proof of results. SERVPRO technology is designed to support your efforts!
  • Timely mitigation is key to the restoration process. Restoring property is the SERVPRO Professional’s first priority. You will appreciate the immediate response, and you will know everything possible is being done to limit the damage. Even if a loss is below the deductible amount, fast action helps assure the event will stay small!
  • Call SERVPRO of West Riverside City, we are here to help you with your needs, visit our website for a description of our services.

    How to Select A Carpet Cleaning Company in Riverside

    3/4/2019 (Permalink)

    Why SERVPRO How to Select A Carpet Cleaning Company in Riverside Call SERVPRO for you carpet cleaning needs.

    The following information comes from an article listed on IICRC.org, the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification. This information is helpful when deciding which company should handle your carpet cleaning needs.

    “Cleaning Carpet Can Be a Dirty Business” “Not All Scum Is In the Carpet” “Don’t Let them Pull The Rug Out From Under You” “Clean Your Carpets Without Cleaning Out Your Wallet” “Don’t Get Taken To The Cleaners.”  These clever phrases have appeared recently in newspaper articles and televised news programs across the nation warning consumers about carpet cleaning scam operations. The media has related horror stories of trusting consumers who have responded to low-price carpet cleaning specials only to become victims of unethical cleaners who refuse to honor the advertised price, intimidate the consumers and do poor quality work.

    Bait-and-switch operators are prevalent in many industries, and the carpet cleaning industry is no exception. This does not mean that all carpet cleaners are rip-off artists. How do you know who is and who is not? The professional carpet cleaning industry has cited these scam activities as a major industry concern and is taking action to help eliminate unprofessional workmanship and unethical tactics. One of the leaders in this campaign is the IICRC, an international, non-profit organization that certifies cleaners who meet prescribed levels of technical proficiency and pledge to operate by a Code of Ethics.

    To help educate consumers so they will not become victims of fraudulent practices within the cleaning industry, the IICRC has released a list of guidelines to consider when selecting a carpet cleaner.

    • Price – If an advertised price sounds too good to be true – it is! Often carpet cleaners advertise a low price just to get their foot in the door. Use common sense; a low price usually equates to low quality for any product or service. Legitimate business people have expenses they must cover, including license, taxes, insurance, employee wages, and benefits, and quality tools of the trade. A professional carpet cleaner who must cover all of these business expenses and make a profit to stay in the business cannot afford to drive to your house for $5.95, much less clean a room of carpet when there.
    • Quality – Never should the price of cleaning services be the sole criterion for selecting a carpet cleaner. A price that sounds high may not be a signal of a rip-off. In all professions, quality work deserves a quality price.
    • Truth in Advertising – Read the fine print in advertised specials to find out exactly what the price includes, and request a firm price in writing before the work begins.
    • Training – Professional cleaning firms require management and employees to engage in formal training in a variety of cleaning disciplines, and these educational efforts will be ongoing.  Consumers should ask about the formal training background of technicians who will be cleaning their carpet.
    • Certification – Professional firms require technicians who have certification from organizations like the IICRC or through comparable franchise or independent training and testing organizations.
    • Experience – The years of experience a firm has, combined with formal training programs, contribute significantly to the experience and proficiency of its employees.
    • Knowledgeable – Professional firms employ and train technicians who have the ability to answer basic questions regarding carpet performance and maintenance, as well as spotting and cleaning.
    • References – Consumers should ask for references from previous customers, and they should consult friends and business acquaintances about the reputation of the cleaning firm they are considering. Do not hesitate to call the Chamber of Commerce and the Better Business Bureau.
    • Trade Associations – Professional cleaning firms are members of regional or national trade associations or other organizations that promote high ethical standards and continuing education. Look for trade association logos in advertising.
    • Credibility – Community involvement through the Chamber of Commerce and/or professional business, charitable or similar organizations will be undertaken by concerned, caring professionals. Look for logos indicating involvement in these organizations.
    • Method – Ask the cleaner which method of cleaning will be used and the advantages and disadvantages of this method compared to other methods.
    • Proof – Never hesitate to ask for proof. Ask to see the cleaner’s certification card, business license and insurance certificate.
    • No Pressure – Technicians must be courteous and willing to take the time to thoroughly explain the cleaning and to answer all questions. The consumer should never feel pressured.

    There is no single criterion for selecting a carpet cleaning service. Several combined factors must be considered in the selection decision.

    Choose a trusted Service such as SERVPRO of West Riverside City, we also handle Upholstery Cleaning. 

    We will get the job done right. For a cleaning backed by state-of-the-art equipment, over 40 years of experience and Professionals trained to the highest standards.

    Call us for your carpet cleaning or upholstery cleaning needs 951-351-8033!

    What Happens to Electronics After a Commercial Fire?

    2/27/2019 (Permalink)

    The modern business world depends on electronic equipment.

    Whether you have a law firm, factory, clothing store or another type of business in Riverside, CA, there is a good chance you have invested in electronic devices. As you may suspect, an electrical fire can damage your company’s digital equipment. Fortunately, if the fire does not ruin your IT equipment, you may be able to salvage it.

    Fires Often Cause Extreme Damage

    Fires can be unbelievably destructive. Whether your company’s fire was large or small, you may have damage to the following areas:

  • Structures
  • Inventory
  • Equipment
  • Electronic devices
  • HVAC systems
  • Recovering from any fire can be stressful. While it is tempting to focus on rebuilding structures and mitigating smoke damage, you must also think about continuing business. If your company uses electronic devices to meet the needs of customers, you need a strategy for computer cleanup.

    Computers Are Often Salvageable 

    When cleaning a computer after an electrical fire, you must be careful to disconnect the unit from its power supply. You must also try not to damage the inner workings of the machine. Still, you should not assume your company’s digital equipment is a complete loss after a fire. Before beginning cleanup or restoration, document damage for insurance purposes.

    Cleanup Professionals Understand Electronic Devices

    Most electronic devices are complex. Not only does digital equipment have circuit boards and wiring, it often has plastic casings. As such, you can’t merely paint over fire damage. Instead, you must work with a reputable fire-restoration service to salvage electronic equipment. Professional technicians have the experience, skill and equipment to clean electronic devices and recommend repairs. Restorers also have the expertise to recognize when a fire has destroyed digital devices. 

    Fire and smoke restoration experts who specialize in electrical fire and ensuring that electronic devices are safe to operate follow three general steps.

    1. Inspect electronics for evidence of overheating. Heat from a fire can cause devices to overheat, but a black film of smoke and soot can also over-insulate parts that produce heat. The magnetic charge of acidic smoke can short circuits and cause overheating.

    2. Wipe down surfaces and check interiors for damage. Electronics restoration experts may need to take devices to a clean and safe location to restore internal components.

    3. Recover important information. If a device is damaged beyond repair, experts will focus on recovering data from it. 

    The extent of damage to electronics depends on the degree to which delicate circuitry or wiring was exposed to heat, smoke, and soot as well as other contaminants like water used to put out a fire. Rather than risking an electrical fire by attempting to turn on or repair electronic devices yourself, you are better off relying on an experienced restoration company in Riverside, CA with electronics and computer cleanup experts on staff. These specialists may be able to save you a lot of stress and money by restoring electronics or recovering important data.

    No business owner wants to have to deal with a commercial fire. If your company has sustained damage during an electrical fire, you may not have to order new electronic equipment, however. With the right team, you may be able to save your company’s computer systems. 

    The Difference Between Flood Claims and Water Damage Claims in Riverside

    2/20/2019 (Permalink)

    After experiencing water damage, you may be left wondering what your options are.

    In most cases, you should make sure that you fix all water damage as quickly as possible. Once you have done this, you can then proceed to file for claims. Fixing your home immediately can prevent problems from getting worse due to mold or decomposition. However, afterward you will still need to deal with the consequences of the bills. For some homeowners, it may be possible for insurance to cover some of the losses. However, many homeowners insurance policies do not always come packaged with flood insurance. To provide assistance, this will take a look at the differences between flood insurance and water damage claims.

    Water Damage Claims

    After experiencing water damage, your first impulse was probably to call your insurance company. Hopefully, you haven’t done this yet. There is a big difference between water damage and flood insurance. Water damage can be caused by storms, accidents, or bursting pipes. These claims are only valid when water damage is associated with water that did not first touch the ground (such as lakes, ponds, & rivers). This means that water coming from a regular thunderstorm, plumbing, or appliance is usually covered under water damage claims. In contrast, a flooded lake or stream that inundates a person’s home is not covered.

    Flood Insurance

    It is important to keep in mind that flood insurance is a special form of insurance contract. It does not automatically come with a standard homeowners insurance policy. In almost all cases, individuals have to purchase flood insurance separately from homeowners insurance. Since many homeowners are not aware of this, homeowners are often outraged when they discover that their insurance contract does not cover flood damage. Flood insurance is generally available for just a few dollars each month. Without this insurance, homeowners cannot expect to have any damage associated with flooding covered under their homeowners insurance policy.

    Implications of Denied Coverage

    If an insurance company declines your application to cover water damage, it could still have a big impact on your monthly insurance rates. Insurance companies can take advantage of information in your claims application to increase your monthly insurance bills. It is not uncommon to see insurance companies viewing homes that have experienced flood damage as high risk. As a result, they have the right to appropriately increase your monthly rates according to this information.

    The reality that your insurance rates could increase after being denied coverage makes it even more important to understand the difference between flood damage and water damage claims. Many individual homeowners make the mistake of filing claims for costs associated with flood damage, only to find that these costs are not covered. When the bill comes the next month, there is nothing that homeowners can do to bring their rates back down. Therefore, it is important to only file a claim if flood damage is explicitly covered in the homeowners insurance contract. In some cases, it may even be recommended for homeowners to work with an attorney to ensure that it is appropriate to file a water damage claim.

    If you have questions about your coverage, we strongly advise you to contact your insurance agent and review your policy. What incidents and perils are you covered for? What are your deductibles? At SERVPRO of West Riverside City we are here to help you in any we can.