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Question DetailsAsked on 1/18/2018

Deep cracks in the wall close to window. Should I worry that cracks are more serious than I thought?

I rented this apt only three months ago and noticed that cracks are now bigger. The other day the window panel (glass and frame) came off and fell forward. Should I worry that these cracks are actually sign of a bigger structural problem?

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If getting larger, something is moving - and a window sach unit (presumably not the entire window and outer frame, hopefully) falling out is indication of significant movement - so pretty much by definition a structural problem of some sort.


Unless you are under a zero-net lease (where you are responsible for all repairs) time to urgently call your landlord - or his building manager if he uses one.


Note if there are significant structural / safety issues, if they require you move out during repairs or are safety critical, that commonly is fair cause to cancel your rental agreement without penalty - you would have to research local law on that if that becomes an issue. Generally, if you are out of the apartment for more than X days for repairs (commonly 3-5, for which the landlord generally has to pay fair temporary housing costs for equivalent lodging), then the rental agreement being optionally voidable by youo comesinto play - but wach state and some cities have their own rules on the details. The basic premise is if the place you rent is not maintained in a safe and functional structural condition then he is not holding up his part of the contract, so it becomes optionally voidable by yu - or you can negotiate a credit or such with him to stay despite being kicked out for X time for repairs. Generally, repairs doable in a few days which do NOT kick you out do not invoke this provision.


Obviously, if this is a concrete or brick/stone framed building or structrual steel, this is a much bigger issue than if a stud-framed building and the cracking is jsut in plaster or veneer brick or such. And of course, the extent and size of the cracking matters too - hairline to up to maybe 1/8" cracks might be structrually caused but not indicative of a serious issue (though should be addressed if noticeably growing), ones say 1/2" or wider definitely ARE serious, in between could go either way.


And of course if noticeably growing over a period of days as opposed to months or years, time to start thinking personal safety about being in the building - especially so if highrise, built on a steep slope which might be slipping, etc. Also, generally (not universally) cracking at just one place, as opposed to in multiple places or on multiple floors, would generally be less indicative of a critical situation than if you were getting cracking all over or cracking across walls or ceilings as opposed to just a few inches long, creaking/tearing sounds or cracking of framing, sloping of floors to tilting of windows and doors, serious jamming of doors, etc which might be indicating an imminent general building failure.


But to have a window unit fall out, combined with cracking at the window area, is at least indicative of something wrong in the framing or at least the framing out of the rough opening and demands immediate inspection by a qualified persopn - typically a Structural Engineer for this sort of thing.

Answered 10 months ago by LCD




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