Water/Damages to Tenant Belongings

5 Replies

Hey All I posted about this in another thread, however I now have all the details in order. I’m still fairly new to being a landlord and I just would love some advice on how I should approach this in the best possible way 

I own a duplex, I live in the in the 2nd unit with a tenant at the bottom unit. Over the weekend there was a leak from the 2nd unit toilet. Tenant came home that sat. night and informed me about the leak. I immediately went down to her property. Noticed the leak was coming from the toilet and I shut the valve off.

Here's the problem tenant mattress had some water stains on there from the toilet leak. Before signing the lease tenant had to show proof of renter's insurance and it's required in the lease that she carries renter's insurance. However tenant has a 5k deductible insurance plan.

Am I responsible to pay for Tenant's belongings?

Side Note: the lease states under Insurance and release
"tenant understands that Landlord's insurance does not cover tenant's personal property, or tenant's guests. Tenant is advised to obtain personal property and liability insurance to protect Tenant, tenant's personal property, and tenant's guests who may be injured while on the property

Initially I thought I was obligated to cover her personal belongings because the leak came from the unit I currently live in. I also told her I would cut her a check, however she was not satisfied with the amount I offered her and she then said, "I'll see you in court."
Just want to make sure I go about this situation the right way.

Thank you!

Based on your lease this is the responsibility of the tenant and their insurance policy.

If she is going to see you in court make sure you bring a signed copy of the lease.

You should also not respond to tenant requests like this until after you review the agreement.

You got her hopes up about reimbursement. 

@Tanaya Fisher

It appears that per your lease you are not obligated to pay.

Would I, in certain cases, pay for damages I didn't have to simply to keep the peace? Yes, but it's a judgement call.

Side note: Any tenant who lived in the unit beneath me who responds to anything at all with "see you in court" would find themselves looking for a new place to live as soon as I could find any legal way possible to remove them from my building.

One effective way to deal with people who threaten to "see you in court" is to explain that you generally go above and beyond based on your own philosophy. The law provides a bare minimum requirement and you often choose to go beyond that because you think it is a better solution. If she would prefer you only provide the bare minimum as required by law, that is another approach. I'm not sure if this is a good approach in this case but it tends to help enlighten people. 

I would follow Ryan's advise. I would pay for the mattress to keep peace. Then find a way to get rid of the tenant ASAP but legally. If no month to month I'm serving her a 60 day notice.