Fire....

9 Replies

Hi,

The tenant caused a fire in the kitchen.  Thankfully no one was hurt and the house is still standing.  After all, i live downstairs.  My question is, who is responsible for the damage?  My insurance deductible is $2,500 and i've tried lowering it but you know insurance companies: 1) you can't lower it for at least 3 yrs after filing a claim 2) you can't lower it if you are about to file a claim.  This is the same high maintenance tenant i discussed in my previous forum.  Karma is a B....right?  Seriously, this was a scary experience considering i was out of town.  I just returned today and have yet to go upstairs and assess the damage.

Thanks, Meg

They have renters insurance , right ? 

@Matthew 

@Matthew Paul NO, they do not.  I just saw the unit.  It is extensive damage.  The hood is completely gone and the cabinets are blackened.  The walls are covered with smoke (they tried to clean). so I am thinking a new coat of paint.  WHO PAYS???

Read your lease , it depends on what  in the lease agreement 

At the very least wouldn't their security deposit go towards that deductible? I suppose it does all depend on the wording in your lease. 

@Lance Wakefield The damage is more than the $700 security deposit...my deductible is $2500...so I guess I have to repair then sue her in small court.  Ugh

I figured the deductible was more, but at least its a start. What doe the lease say about this sort of circumstance? You would probably need to review it with your attorney because its not like we can interpret it for you. It seems to me that your lease would clearly name the tenant as responsible for damages and their cost. 

Personally if it were me I would negotiate with the tenant and keep it out of court because after all the only winner there is attorneys. If you do manage to get a judgement getting that judgement paid is a whole other story. See how much the tenant is will to pay if anything. 

The last saving grace could be how your insurance company works with you. For example in one of my rentals we had a very cold night a pipe froze and burst, flooding the basement. So what does the tenant do? They wait 6 hours to call and inform me and when they do they call it a drip. It was a freaking waterfall, if there hadn't been floor drains in the middle of the house it would have been really bad luckily it was only 4 or 5 inches deep. Anyway long story short they paid $3500 of damages and it cost me $250 to get it fixed. I put $3250 in my pocket for dealing with the headache. I used the handy man I use for everything to fix it and costs were very minimal. So that could be a silver lining. 

Best of luck

@Lance Wakefield You were lucky to have your tenants help out.  I doubt mine will since she is a high maintenance tenant.  I will discuss it with them...but what really bothers me is that my insurance company will not reduce my deductible!!!

It seems as if you have unrealistic expectations.  Your insurance will not lower the deductible right before you file a claim....that you expect them to is a bit absurd.  If you wanted a lower deductible  you should have  gotten  that taken care of prior to leasing the property, and expect to pay higher  premiums when you do.

You still have not mentioned what your lease actually says.  For all we know it says landlord to pay all damages and send tenant to a spa for the stress of it all.......we cannot tell you who pays until you tell us what  your  lease  says.  My lease states that tenant is responsible for tenant caused damages.  What did you put in your lease?

The damage you described may be easily fixable for less than 2500 if all it is is a couple  new cabinets and some paint.

@Amy E...there is more background information on my comment regarding insurance.  I called to lower the deductible 3years after a burglary and the insurance wanted to know if i was planning on filing a claim!!! Why would they do this? I pay my monthly premiums and waited 3 years after my last claim.

My lease was a generic one.  this is an owner-occupied duplex.  Excuse me for not doing my due diligence.  Why isn't the law clear on this?  Does it mean i can put anything i want on a lease? They are clearly responsible.  They admitted they were cooking french fries and she is deaf although she fought me to have hearing service dogs that are tinier than my cats...why didn't they alert her to the smoke alarm which is electrically wired, not a battery powered one??? She is clearly responsible and in addition to the security deposit I will have them payoff repair...monthly payments are welcome...she is high maintenance and this is karma for her bitchiness.  Yes I am taking it personally.

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