Arson at Rental House

12 Replies

A SFR rental I have was the victim of a small arson fire. Porch was set on fire, burnt some siding, railing and caused a window to shatter. Suspects not identified yet.

It is tenant occupied and tenant was home at the time asleep with a baby. Fortunately a neighbor alerted them and they were able to extinguish with a garden hose. 

Who is financially responsible for repairs? Tenat or landlord? TAR lease.

@Mark Buskuhl  

This is probably going to be Owners responsibility. It will probably be an insurance claim if the repairs start to rack up. The only way this will become something you can charge the tenant for is if the courts find them responsible for the actual act. 

I agree with David. Landlord issue. If the claim it at or below your deductible I would just pay for and increase rent at avreasonable rate at new lease or renewal. If damages exceed deductible file claim and get repaired, hoping you have insurance. Hope the suspect is identified sooner than later. Good luck

Sorry to hear about this. Where is the property located? It was probably targeted for some reason, but would be hard to prove it was the tenants fault. Have you had any disputes with contractors or old tenants? Might as well call your insurance company and get it handled.

Sounds like your insurance should take care of it. Hopefully the police or fire marshal can catch the person who did it, then charge them with the crime, so you can receive restitution.

Updated almost 2 years ago

*Disclaimer* I'm not a lawyer and I'm in no way offering legal advice. You should always speak to a lawyer regarding legal matters.

Originally posted by @Mark Buskuhl :

A SFR rental I have was the victim of a small arson fire. Porch was set on fire, burnt some siding, railing and caused a window to shatter. Suspects not identified yet.

It is tenant occupied and tenant was home at the time asleep with a baby. Fortunately a neighbor alerted them and they were able to extinguish with a garden hose. 

Who is financially responsible for repairs? Tenat or landlord? TAR lease.

Only way the tenant can be pulled into it is if they are found liable for causing the fire, and it does not sound like that is the case. 

In this situation, the only option is out of pocket or the landlords insurance policy.

 

The house is in a subdivision in North Texas. It happened around 2pm on a Saturday. The house is insured. Tenants and I have an excellent relationship. No contractors have been at the house in over 2 years. I think it was neighborhood kids who thought it would be fun to light a wicker chair on fire that was on the porch. Could have killed the wife and baby who were asleep as the husband was gone. 

Originally posted by @Mark Buskuhl :

A SFR rental I have was the victim of a small arson fire. Porch was set on fire, burnt some siding, railing and caused a window to shatter. Suspects not identified yet.

It is tenant occupied and tenant was home at the time asleep with a baby. Fortunately a neighbor alerted them and they were able to extinguish with a garden hose. 

Who is financially responsible for repairs? Tenat or landlord? TAR lease.

The criminals are financial responsible for the repairs and you should sue them when they are found.

Barring the criminals being found, sued, and collected on, it's all you, Mark, through your insurance or not.

 

There are a few things that might tell you.   One is the property code.   In Texas the property code outlines some of the expenses that can happen and who is responsible for it.   The leases we use also outlines some of these issues and repairs.    Unless you can determine the tenant is at fault, then my thought is the repair is yours.   I would think it is rare that just for no reason some random person comes and sets fire to your house.  I would guess it is someone who has issues with the tenant and potentially then you could hold the responsible.  You need to prove that though...so might be easier, faster, better to take care of it or let your insurance company take care of it.

Texas might have a different type of property code: Who has possession of the home? its not the owner. I doubt you provided security monitoring services, all you promised to do to provide a home and the tenant has the custodial responsibly of not letting  it catch on fire

And of course it was arson.  And by the way it sounds like BBQ coals and your being a feed a load. The property code hopefully will give you some clarity 

Unless you can document and prove the tenants had some direct cause for the fire....in other words they set it or did something really stupid to have it catch fire, then this is 100% on the owner of the house and the insurance.

Obviously check their story..... its very possible its a lie but proving it may be very difficult