News Article: Landlord Sends Man $1,200 Bill To Cleanup His Roommate’s Blood, Who Was Shot Dead By Police

2 Replies

BP,

I came across the following news article at: http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2015/04/02/364225...

In summary, a Wisconsin landlord is holding a young tenant liable for the cleanup of bio-HAZMAT from when the police shot and killed a friend of the tenant who was staying at the apartment.

I'm curious for BP's thoughts on what is the correct way to handle this situation. Is this something the landlord's insurance company would handle, or should the tenant be liable?

 - Mikhail

I have no idea if insurance would cover this.  However, many landlord insurance policies have deductibles up to $1000 or more, so even if insurance covered it, much of the bill would still be unpaid.  

With an unpaid bill, a landlord has to ask, "is it my fault?"  In this case, the answer is NO.  Next, the landlord has to ask, "is it the tenant's fault?"  In this case, the tenant's invited guest allegedly created a disturbance that led to the police being called to the residence which led to the blood damaging the property.  I thing the landlord was within his rights to send the bill.

If it turns out the killing by the police was unjustified, then the city should pay for the damages.  Until and if that day comes, the tenant is responsible.

To me, it's not different than if the tenant has a small party and somehow the carpet suffered irreparable damage.  The tenant's guests caused the damage and the tenant is responsible.

Michael, 

The horrible situation described in the think progress article should be covered under the legal concept of 'lack of foreseesbilty'.I believe the surviving party who's name is on the lease inform the landlord he cannot be held legally responsible for a random act an committed by a government agency who actions resulted in the death of a friend who's presence at the residence at the time could not have been reasonably predicted to have produced an outcome that would have normally resulted in damage to the property owners property. The most common test of proximate cause under the American legal system is foreseeability. It determines if the harm resulting from an action could reasonably have been predicted. The test is used in most cases only in respect to the type of harm. It is foreseeable, for example, that throwing a baseball at someone could cause them a blunt-force injury. But proximate cause is still met if a thrown baseball misses the target and knocks a heavy object off a shelf behind them, which causes a blunt-force injury. Evident in Corrigan v HSE (2011 IEHC 305).

I believe he is covered under this concept. The burden of proof will rest with the property owner, not the renter. 

Fox Watson

Black Mountain, NC

Create Lasting Wealth Through Real Estate

Join the millions of people achieving financial freedom through the power of real estate investing

Start here