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Posts: 11

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Q: Will they catch me? OR are they even looking?

I posted this on the forum instead of the questions page. So I'm doing it here, too, now that I know how Sorry.

So, I recently left the country in a hurry.  I wanted to leave before I was sued.  But I want to know what would have happened if I had stayed.  Here's my story:

I rented an apartment and on the day I moved in the water was shut off in the building.  I hired an ayi to come in and wipe things down so I could unpack things.  The movers unloaded a truck full of stuff and after three hours of unpacking, I paid the "Ayi" and we left.  I went back to my old apartment to watch some tv.  

Around 5 hours later I got a call from the real estate guy who had given me my keys that morning.  He said my downstairs neighbors had called him because my apartment was flooding two apartments below mine.  The "Ayi' had turned a faucet on while she was cleaning and when water didnt' come out she didn't turn it off.  Water had been running for hours unchecked for hours.

I'll skip most of the clean up drama.  I called everyone I knew and told them to come over  for a mopping party.  The neighbors were irate.  Screaming, banging on the door.  I had just watched a video on Chinasmack about a walmart employee who had spit in some lady's face for hitting his car with her bike - a mob formed and they beat his car to pieces.  As I heard my neighbors doing the same thing to my door, I panicked.

The police arrived.  They wanted me to come downstairs so they could give me a ticket.  I told them I was busy.  (I was trying to drain a swimming pool sized problem with a mop.)  He didn't press the matter.  After 4 hours of cleaning, most of my helpers went home and a Chinese friend came in and gave me the news.  Each of my downstairs neighbors wanted 60,000 yuan in damages.  I didn't have that much money. 

But I also knew I wasn't the one who turned on the water.  I had been unpacking, not cleaning.  And the faucet that was one was a floor faucet in the bedroom hidden behind a curtain that I didn't even know was there.  IT was the old cleaning lady.  But she had worked for me for three hours and had only asked for 15 yuan.  I KNEW she wouldn't be able to afford the charges.  I couldn't  ruin her life.  I couldn't blame her.  Not when I could take the blame and easily leave the country.

So I left the apartment with my friend and his parents and we started walking to my old place.   It was past midnight, and as we walked we talked.  I had decided to leave but I also knew that people don't tend to think rationally when they are in stressful situations.  I also knew I had no understanding of the law in China.  Was I was responsible for the damages if I wasn't the one who had turned the water on?  I hadn't even had the place for more than 15 hours!  What would happen to me if I stayed.  I asked my friend's parents what I should do, and they said I should leave China before I was sued.  So I did.

I snuck back upstairs, packed one suite case and left a moving truck full of my belongings inside the apartment.  

I couldn't get a flight for the next day, so I spent the morning at my old place.  I found the cleaning lady for my old apartment building and invited her upstairs to my old place and todl her she could take anything she wanted.  She took it all.  Then I drove to my milky tea place and said goodbye.  I went next door the the jewelry store and gave the lady there my dog.  THen I drove to friend's house and hid out for a day before my flight left the next morning.  

I made it through customs just fine.  But I kept looking over my shoulder.  I got to Beijing, but didn't try to cash in my money because that would need my passport and what if it was flagged?  Please remember I have already admitted to thinking irrationally when under stress.  I made it through security again but when I was on the place that would take me back to America, we were going down the runway and then we weren't.  The captain came on and said we were turning around.  Then he explained it was for some flight reason.  But just for a second my heart stopped.  They had found me.  

I know my "crime" is small and they only do stuff like that for drug lords and what not, but I still got to live my own version of The Bourne Legacy for a few days.  It was a quite exciting.  but now I wonder - was it all for nothing?  Was it even necessary?

So here are my questions:

1.  What do you think happened to my stuff?  I figured they might sell it.  But who gets the money? THe landlord, whose woodent floors were damaged?  THe neighbors?  The real estate guy?  OR did they just throw it all away?  Divy it up amongst the neighbors?

2.  The real estate guy called my friend's dad the next day asking if he knew where I was, that perhaps  had run.  How long before they unlocked the apartment and figured I had abandoned it?

3.  What would have happened if I had stayed and could not pay the money?  Jail or deportation?  

4.   Is there a way, other than applying for a new z  visa, to know if I am black listed? 

5.   I heard a few days ago that the neighbors are going to sue the landlord now.  Do you think they will win?  She wasn't even in the city when it happened.  

6. In China, who is the responsible party in this situation? Me, the ayi, or the landlord?

6.  What would you have done?

7 years 39 weeks ago in  Visa & Legalities - Other cities

 
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Comments (10)
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I would think this all is the landlords problem. Did he tell you not to use the water? If the place is in a state where this would have happened surely he is at fault for renting it out. 

 

I do not know the laws here, maybe the rental contract would say something about it. I would certainly have forwarded any claims from downstairs neighbors to the landlord. The fact that each demand 60000 rmb is ridiculers, any claim should be for having the damage fixed, not for a sum of cash. I know water damage can be pretty bad but you can do a lot of renovation in China for 60000

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7 years 39 weeks ago
 
Posts: 11

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I never even met the landlord. She was actually in another city. I only dealt with the real estate company. There was nothing wrong with the apartment - it was actually gorgeous - had a fire place and everything! But the water was off in the whole building for the day. There was even a notice on the front foor of the building that the water would be off from a certain time to a certain time.

I was afraid to stay and forward any claims to anyone - I wanted to get out while I could. But now I wonder what would have happened if I had stayed. . .

As far as the ridiculous sum they asked for - they just saw that I was a foreigner and figured I was rich. I looked into thier units on my way down stairs - all of their belongings totaled couldn't equal 60,000!

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7 years 39 weeks ago
 
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Governor

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If you left them with any identification they will keep it on record and report your name to the po po or ( Police). The police would probably forward your information to the authorities around the airport because as you say they know you are a foreigner. With the damage that happened if they are suing the Landlord you better believe that Landlord will want the fingers to be pointed at someone else beside him/her. 

 

Expect that Landlord to do just that. That Landlord will report you and if your name comes up anywhere they will find you. Afterall it was the place that you were still responsible that ruined other people's homes. It is just like if there was a fire you would be at fault. Since this was water and there were damages it still doesn't matter you are at fault. The ayi wasn't responsible for that apartment. If anything if they sue you you have the right to shift the focus to the ayi, but you already stated that is not your motivation. 

 

So here is what it looks like. The neighbors are blaming a particular apartment and whoever was living there or responsible for that place at the time. So they will either point the finger at you or the Landlord. Neighbors pointing fingers at Landlord- Landlord pointing fingers at you-you pointing fingers at Ayi. That's how the law works!

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7 years 39 weeks ago
 
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Governor

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how come tap fitted without a drain???.... i have never seen such a thing...

 

I had similar water problem once... winter was too cold for me ... so i left the apartment and reneted a new one... but we had paid for 1 year.. so i dint return the old... in winter water in tap/pipe frozen - which means expansion of volume.. which broke the pipe/tap and water leaked for days... the only damage was the water bill which was settled for ~500rnb as i remember ... some security guy noticed and had informed us ... otherwise i dont know if it would have reached 5000 or not...

 

no other damages as if there is tap .. there should be drain!!!

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7 years 39 weeks ago
 
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You rented the apartment but the landlord owns the apartment.  Follow Traveler's advise above.  First, under the law, it is the landlord that will be held responsible.  RMB 60,000 for each apartment?  That is major structural damage in China and I can't believe that is a real number. I once had my apartment seriously flooded and it took a lot of haggling and a lot of repairs and it still was under RMB 5,000.00.   They will go after the landlord first -- he will come after you in a civil court.  You should have remained calm and held your ground.  This happens all the time around here.

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7 years 39 weeks ago
 
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Troll. Its the landlords problem to start with.  My washing machine broke and flooded one room which then leaked into the apartment downstairs.  Actually the guy below was alright about it and said to speak to my landlord.   I don't believe your story is real for a second.  No drain?  60 000 in repairs for 2 apartments?  What? Did it flood through 2 floors?  And no one said contact the landlord?  Sorry, but it sounds fake.

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7 years 39 weeks ago
 
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