Door was broken during break-in due to tenant's actions...who bears the cost?

12 Replies

Last week one of our properties was broken into. They kicked in the back door and allegedly stole a fairly significant amount of cash. The tenant was very upset and I feel very bad for her. 

However, I obtained a copy of the police report. It states that the tenant's daughter had three juvenile boys over at the house the day before. The daughter was showing off and showed the boys the stack of money. Nobody else knew the cash was there. The house was broken into the very next day. Everything was untouched except the cash was missing. 

Again, I feel horrible for the tenant. I replaced the door and frame immediately at a cost of $550. Does anyone have any experience - or words of wisdom - on passing along this cost to the tenant?

I could take it out of her security deposit, but I feel this should/could be separate. 

How on earth do you think you can take that out of her security deposit?  

She is not responsible for the criminal acts of others.  Not even if she had money in her apartment, she gets to do that.

Send that copy of the police report to your insurance company when you file your claim.  I'm not going to say a judge would laugh at you, because probably he'd yell at you.

It's going to be your responsibility, if the tenant has a police report and the damage wasn't committed by the tenant then it's going to be on the landlord to fix.  

Who pays for it? Either you or your insurance company. Your deductible is likely at least $500 so basically, you are footing this bill.

I've had tenants' houses broken into before and I always pay to repair the damage caused by the forced entry.  The fact that someone has nice/valuable stuff in their home does not make it their fault when someone breaks in and steals it.  Your tenants have already sufferred enough of a loss.  It sucks, but you're going to have to eat the cost of the repair.  Just part of the business unfortunately.

Sounds like they have some real solid leads on who actually kicked the door in.  If they are convicted you could demand payment from the parents with the threat to sue.

I would not recommend taking it out of the security deposit. If it is found due the tenants fault and your lease says tenants repair is their fault. The questions is of you want to do that!

Strong feedback! I appreciate it. Instead of saying I could take it, I should have been clearer by saying I would like to take it out of the security deposit.

But thanks for pointing me in the right direction. Everything was repaired immediately and we've been working with the police. Life goes on. Thanks to all who replied. 

Even if someone brags about what they have, does that give someone else the right to break into their home to rob them? NO!

I would definitely stay away from suggesting this happened "due to tenants actions". I definitely get your frustration but not really something you can blame on the tenant.

Property damage caused by thieves forcibly entering your property is not the fault of the victim. How is this different from a tenant showing their neighbors or friends their new computer or electric guitar or their engagement ring? 

I think its unanimous that the tenant isn't responsible.

But I think the earlier post is where you should look to if you want to have a shot at getting reimbursed. The daughter had friends over the day before and showed them the cash. What were the friends names and are the police going to bring them in and charge them?

If they're charged and convicted - or they confess - then you would definitely be able to go after them and their parents for restitution. Whether you collect or not is another story. But that, to me, is the only avenue for recourse you have here.

If you own it, you are responsible, not the tenant, unless they kicked it in. However, I would pass along some advice to the tenant, put some duct tape over that girls mouth, and have her file the police report against the 3 kids. 

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