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Thread: Need Some Help and Advice For a Friend's Parents in Ottawa Massive Water Damage

  1. #1
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    Question Need Some Help and Advice For a Friend's Parents in Ottawa Massive Water Damage

    A very good buddy of mine here in Tokyo got a bad new phone call from Canada. His 80 year old parents were away visiting his sister over Christmas and the New Year, when they returned home their house was badly damaged. He only has sketchy information so I'll pass along what he got.

    Water broke through a basement wall, pretty much filling the basement, part of the 1st floor of the house collapsed into the basement, then the temp dropped to -10 and everything is now frozen.

    The house was built in the 70's it is this kind of house.....





    They have insurance and my buddy expects that they will get a good settlement and will be able to repair the house, but as they are in their 80's we would like this to be as stress free as possible.

    I suggested that the first thing to do is to find out what exactly happened, and that maybe they should look into getting a good contractor that is familiar at dealing with a rebuild and especially with dealing with an insurance company.

    What if any advice would you guys suggest?

    I know we have a pretty deep pool of skills, experiences and networks here so I'm asking for some ideas

    They live in an area called Nepean which is South West of Ottawa I guess.

    As we get more information I'll pass it along, but if anyone knows a good contractor in the area, we would love an introduction.

    Like I said, this is a good buddy of mine, one of the few people in Tokyo that I'd trust my kids with, so I want to help, and I'm asking for your help if you can.

    Cheers!
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Mooney View Post
    Man what a horrible thing to come home to after the Holidays! Sounds like a job for Mike Holmes!
    Funny as it may be, he might just go for a job like that. For the structure to fail, it leaves me wondering what kind of shape the foundation is in. I think your advice of a good contractor is the first step. Assuming they had some kind of flood insurance, it should take care of this type of damage. Leaves me wondering if they had a waterline break or something to fill it up that bad. My grandparents house had a washing machine hose break while they were away for the summer. Water ran for a month before anyone noticed, and you can imagine the damage the mold did in the Arizona summer time. With the exception of some items that were in rubber maid tubs everything was lost. On top of everything else, the city sent them a water bill for $10,000.
    Darren

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  3. #3
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    Stu this is more serious than what might be apparent.
    My swimbo is a insurance broker. Just asked her the ramifications.

    Critical is to determine source of water and nature of accident. Details here are essential. Ontario insurance does not provide for certain conditions of flood damage. Also very important is what condition basement outer walls were in.

    This is an terrible event for an elderly couple to be dealing with on their own.
    Is there anyone closer to them than your buddie that can help them through this.
    Given their age i would be saying get a honest understanding of where they stand in terms of insurance. Everything hinges around knowing if this is covered or not.
    Insurance company will for sure be looking for their get out clause and this will need to be contested legally. But there is little point contesting a case that has thin validity if its clearly not covered.
    Assuming the whole schebang is covered i would suggest getting a good real estate agent and lawyer and taking cash and selling the land. At their age it could all be a blessing in disguise. They can move into a retirement place without the stress of having to go through rebuild. Giving up independent living will also be traumatic and stressful but going through a rebuild at their age will not be a tea party. Even if there is someone to help them through the course of the build that person will need to be a saint to see it through to the end along with looking out for their interests all along. The person would be caught with a full time project management job and trying to meet expectations while dealing with insurance co.
    They key hear needs to be ckecking their actual policy wording and getting accurate info in terms of cause and origination of problem.

    My heart goes out to them what a way to start the new year.

    Stu one important point here i just checked on with swimbo is the insurance co will have reacted very quick when it comes to water damage claim. Therefore it is likely that if the claim is valid, that the insurance co is paying for them to be housed elsewhere.
    If that is the case, its very important that they keep paying their insurance premiums on their policy.
    I know this sounds odd but its necessary to keep the policy in effect.

    Sent from my MB860 using Tapatalk
    cheers

  4. #4
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    Thanks guys, I'll pass along the info!

    Yeah Mike Holmes, I thought of him too
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  5. #5
    First thought that came to my mind was Mike Holmes.

  6. #6
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    I got some more info, for example his sister is NOT local, I got that point wrong.

    The insurance company has stepped up and is taking the lead, they have some very large construction company fixing the home, they have already pumped out the water, they ran heaters in there for a couple of days, now they are running some big heavy duty dehumidifiers, so they can get the water out and then see where they are, but there has been a large development, asbestos

    The whole house is now tarpped and they are removing and cleaning it all out. It is possible they will lose all the contents of the house. The some good news is that they are saying three months to move back in, not six months. The parents are now in a hotel, but they are having to foot that bill themselves, that sucks, and my buddy is worried as his dad is a retired Canadian Forces Vet and is on a fixed pension, and it is not large, so he will have to break some 401k type investments to pay for the hotel, this is being worked on, I don't see why the insurance company does not pick up the hotel bill, but I'm short on details here.

    The good news is that the insurance company seems to be taking the lead and getting it done, but the bad news is his parents really have no control over what that means exactly.

    I'm wondering if it would be worth it for them to hire their own engineer or some kind of home inspector to make sure it is done right, not just done.

    Cheers!
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  7. #7
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    Well as the famous adage goes "The first report is always wrong"

    Let me relate to you some more details that my buddy has gleaned.....

    Quote Originally Posted by Stu's Buddy
    It looks like in the 24hrs it took my parents to get back to Ottawa, decisions and action had been taken already by their broker and the insurance company. The broker 'Vince', and the insurance rep 'Tony' are hand in glove no doubt.
    Anyway, my sister is advocating for my parents and has found out that the insurance company is being reasonable and somewhat flexible on accommodation. Valuation of damages is something of a subject I was going to broach with them today. Interesting to hear that it can still be done with asbestos.
    Here's what happened, as related by a neighbour:

    The furnace conked-out and with the extremely cold weather over Christmas, the pipes froze and split open. Why the furnace would die (it was only ~15 years old and was recently looked at by a repair man) is an open question. Your Mom said the neighbour that visited the house while they were away was interrogated by the insurance people for an hour. This kind of thing happens all the time especially when a house is vacant for an extended period of time. Sounds like the insurance will be taking care of things at least. Your Mom very quite upset. To say the least.
    An on the scene report:

    so i went to the house just now. its pretty messed up. the 1st floor will be gutted and the basement is obviously a disaster. your parents will be in the holiday inn near the airport until they can get something closer. they will be out of the house for months.
    There is some good news...

    Quote Originally Posted by Stu's Buddy
    Just got through to Ottawa, and as far as we can tell, everyone involved is being extraordinarily helpful and responsible.
    And just to add to the drama, one of the reason why my buddy's mother is gutted about the whole mess....
    Quote Originally Posted by Stu's Buddy
    Found out why it *is* a massive loss, and why my Mum is so upset and has good reason to be:
    There were over 3,000 rare and out of print books down there she'd been collecting since the 50s :-(
    Mostly paperbacks which cannot be saved.
    Things like the collected works of Enid Blyton: an English children's author that generations, including myself, grew up with.
    A couple of things I'd like to add, more like open questions:

    Why do people NEVER learn that pipe freeze and bust and that basements will fill with water? This seems to happen fairly regular like, in our modern age why do we not have a drain in the floor somewhere in a house, or at least some sort of system that if the water bike bursts, and water starts to fill the basement, some sort of a system that would automatically shut off the water at the main? I know most will say that it costs too much money, but how many home owners are given a choice for something like this to be installed in their home?

    From the sounds of it, things are going better than could have been hoped for, this is still going to be very tough on his parents, but things are going forward.

    Thank you all for your help and advice, I appreciate it and my buddy has also expressed thanks to you all.

    Cheers!
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  8. #8
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    Stu,

    I am so very sorry. I am also absolutely no help though I sure wish I were.

    JimB
    First of all you have to be smarter than the machine.
    VOTING MEMBER

  9. #9
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    So Stu where did they find the asbestos?
    Daily Thought: SOME PEOPLE ARE LIKE SLINKIES..... NOT REALLY GOOD FOR ANYTHING BUT THEY BRING A SMILE TO YOUR FACE WHEN PUSHED DOWN THE STAIRS...............

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Watson View Post
    So Stu where did they find the asbestos?
    I do not know, sorry.
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

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