Back in early April i received a call from one of my properties claiming that there was water gushing out of the ceiling. I get over there & water is pouring out of the radiant heat system underneath a window. I shut the water off & investigate where the water is coming from. There was an approximate 1 inch split in the 3/4in copper piping. When the plumber came over to fix he stated right away that it was from the water freezing up in the pipe and then splitting the pipe under enormous pressure. Naturally the tenant claims they didn't have the window open. The temperature that night got down to 0 degrees farenheit. I sent the $2000 cleanup bill to the tenant for negligence and she is refusing to pay claiming that my homeowners insurance should cover "old pipes."
Who do you think should cover this expense?
How should I proceed from here?
Unless you can prove fault, this one's on you. Your insurance should cover the loss. You did call your agent as soon as it happened and file a claim, right?
@Lee Gierszewski How do you propose that the tenant caused the pipe to freeze? How can you prove that?
I would think that is your responsibility and something you need to turn over to your insurance company. Why would someone leave a window open in 0 degree temps long enough to freeze pipes? Plus the area the pipe is in would have to get below freezing & stay there long enough to freeze the pipes. When we see frozen pipes as a tenant’s responsibility it is because the tenant turned the heat off when they went away for a few days during a bitter cold spell. Other than that the frozen pipes we see are usually the landlord’s responsibility.
While I’m not an attorney, I would file a claim with my insurance company. Similar to the prior posts, unless you have evidence this was specifically caused by tenant negligence it may be a difficult case for you to win. However, if the Ifinsurance company believes otherwise, see if they will pursue against the tenants, although I suspect they won’t ‘throw good money after bad.’