Toilet overflow damage

6 Replies

My tenants live in an 8th floor condo I own. It appears that they used the toilet, it got clogged and began to overflow. It seems that the tenants did not notice the issue and left out of town. 

A few hours later, the buildings’ maintenance team get a call from a resident a couple floors down regarding a leak from the ceiling.

The maintenance team unclogged the toilet and did what they could with the overflowing water.

I’d like your opinions on whether the tenants are liable. The maintenance team says that the tenants’ caused the damage, thus insurance should be called. 

My question is whether I should get the tenants to contact their renter insurance policy (I’m not certain they got it, although the lease does stipulate it explicitly). 

Thank you all for any useful advice.

Yes, the tenants are liable. They clogged the toilet and failed to ensure it was shut off before leaving town.

This may be a big expense because sewer water can't just be sucked up and dried out. you're fortunate it was caught early. 

Let the tenant know they will be on the hook. They should file a claim with their renter insurance immediately.

Thank you for the prompt response, Nathan. I am not certain whether the tenants ever purchased renters’ insurance. Is that something that I should always verify? How do I make tenants purchase it?

@Michael Nahm if you require renter's insurance in your lease, you should call out stipulated liability minimums and ask to be added as "additional insured" on the policy. This way you would be notified if they cancel their policy or it expires/lapses due to nonrenewal during the term of their tenancy.

@Michael Nahm it doesn't really matter if they bought renter's insurance or not at this point. It is their expense however it gets paid: from their pocket or from their insurance. Let them know it is on them to cover the cost.