What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? California
I warn you this is long but I tried to include details.
I live on the second and third floor of a three story apartment building(my apartment is 2 stories). Somehow, something caused a flood somewhere between my bottom floor and the unit below mine and it flooded badly the apartment below me (which was vacant at the time). When this occurred I was home but on the upstairs floor of my apartment and unaware of anything happening.
My manager came to my door after discovering the leak below me (I think he noticed it leaking in the garage on the ground floor first and was working his way up to find the source.) I let him in and he had a plumber with him. The leak was still going however the plumber looked in both of my bathooms, and around my washing machine and saw NOTHING indicating a leak. There was no visual indication in my apartment to the plumber of a flood or leak. There was no water flow anywhere in my apartment that was visible and nothing that appeared to be leaking. And my apartment appeared to be in normal condition.
They then left my apartment but came back about 30 mins later saying it HAD to be coming from my apartment. I let them in again of course, that is when they felt my carpet and noticed it was moist. The plumber then ran my washing machine three times and watched it from my apartment, and the one below me to see if anything started leaking. It did not. Then he put some holes in my walls to see if any pipes were leaking and they were not.
They went to the roof of the building and eventually came down and told me that they guessed all the rain we had the two days before had somehow backed up and flooded a drainage pipe that ran straight down the inside the building in the area that the leak was present. I shrugged as I was mostly confused as to what was going on.
About 5 hours later someone else from the apartments maintenance came to my apartment and insisted that I had done something and demanded to know what I did, asking me if I had overflowed the bathtub etc. I told him I had done nothing and the plumber had been in my apartment while the leak was still running out of the garage but there was no water running in my apartment. Then he insisted I must have overflowed my washing machine and then claimed that the water in the apartment below me was "sudsy". I do not believe it was and that he was trying to bully me. I told him I had not run the washer in probably a week as I had been in and out of town during the last week.
They left again baffled at what had caused the flood. The next day he came back with a different plumber who had some sort of moisture reading device and they used it to determine (what they already knew) that it was wet on the floor around the washer and bathroom (the washer hookup is right outside the bathroom door). This new plumber said it must have been a tub overflow and they left without saying a word to me.
Later that night they asked my husband to come downstairs to see the damage to the unit below us. They then bullied my husband asking him "Are you sure your wife didn't do this?" and "We will search the dumpsters for wet towels or anything you might have disposed of." They said they had pumped "hundreds of gallons" of water out of the apartment below mine. They never had to pump or suck ANY amount of water from my apartment. In my opinion a flood that massive could not have been covered up as they seem to think I did ad would have left large amounts of damage in my unit as well. Especially in a time frame of the manager and plumber coming inside my apartment AS IT WAS HAPPENING and seeing nothing.
A week went by and the head maintenance man came by to ask my husband again and had him come to the unit below us again to see damage. He said to my husband "I hope you have good insurance." Which I obviously take as a threat that they plan on suing me for the repairs. I feel completely helpless and terrified right now. Can they just determine it must be my fault like that? What can I do to protect myself now? I know this flood was not my fault and nothing I did.
I don't understand how they can think it is when my apartment had virtually no damage to it. I understand they don't know what happened but that should not default to meaning its my fault. Please help as I am losing sleep over this.
p.s. I have no insurance company to fight them for me so advice mentioning that only makes me feel more helpless.