General Question

Minute_And_A_Huff's avatar

Does my landlord owe me compensation?

Asked by Minute_And_A_Huff (588 points ) June 29th, 2010

So, the hot water heater in my apartment building burst and flooded an entire room in my apartment – a room that happens to have tons of boxes of stuff in it (I moved in 2 weeks ago). Since I didn’t cause the water heater to break, does my landlord owe me financial compensation for any destroyed possessions, just as I would him if I caused the burst and it ruined the building?

*Note: I live in the States, if it matters.

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14 Answers

sleepdoc's avatar

I am not sure about his legal recourse, but renters insurance probably would have covered it.

marinelife's avatar

Your landlord does not owe you compensation for your goods. It would have had to be covered by renter’s insurance.

LuckyGuy's avatar

They said it. ^ ^ You need renter’s insurance. Did you have it? Did your agent up sell it to you when you got an auto policy?

jrpowell's avatar

A similar thing happened to my buddy. But it was his toilet. I’m not sure if the landlord was legaly required to do it but the landlord cut him a check for a thousand for the damaged stuff. It was mostly rare records. (this was in Oregon)

Local laws about this differ greatly. I would contact Legal Aid where you live. Keep in mind if you only costs a hundred bucks to replace what was damaged it might not be worth it to sue your landlord. It is nice to avoid having them hate you.

john65pennington's avatar

Do you have a rental contract? if so, find it and read it. this should give you the answers you seek.

skfinkel's avatar

Isn’t this why you are supposed to get renter’s insurance?

poofandmook's avatar

I didn’t have renter’s insurance, because I was naive… but my landlord painted the railing black and ruined my brand new (gorgeous and soft :( ) pink coat… there were no signs posted. I called him and told him about it, and I said “is there anything I can do about replacing the coat?” and he cut me a check after I got a new one and gave him the receipt. He was nice about it.

See what your landlord will do, but don’t be confrontational. To beat the cliche, you catch more flies with honey.

Otto_King's avatar

The landlord has nothing to do with the broken water heater. But if there is no insurance on the house, it’s his duty to fix the heater, and the floor(if there is any damage), and you had an unlucky day with your wet boxes…

cazzie's avatar

Renter’s insurance is taken out by the landlord. (?) Here it is anyway and covers damage caused by tenants. What tenants buy is ‘contents insurance’. I guess terms differ from place to place.

Call YOUR insurance company (hoping you have contents insurance) and find out from them whether they’ll pay or if you need to talk to your landlord about making a claim on his insurance.

The Landlord absolutely has to deal with the hot water heater in the building. (It isn’t part of your apartment, but a hot water heater that services a few different apartments, I’m guessing). Any damage it caused is no different than if the roof leaked or the fuse box was faulty. His building, his responsibility.

JLeslie's avatar

I agree you needed to have renters insurance to cover your contents. The landlords insurance covers repairing the apartment, floor, walls, cabinets, etc. It is not his fault his hot water heater leaked, unlike the example above of a landlord painting and not posting wet paint signs. Similar to when there is a hurricane and a neighbors tree falls on my property and causes damage. The damage on my property is my problem.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@JLeslie It might not be the landlord’s fault, but it would be his responsibility. And it might be his fault depending on if it leaked before, if there was reason to think there might be a problem and he was negligent…

cazzie's avatar

This is why people take out insurance. This was one of those ‘no fault’ things.

I had a strange thing happen in France. We were renting a place and my 2 year old son broke the lock of the door. He stuck a key in the lock that didn’t belong to that particular lock and there was no fixing it. The landlord had to replace the ENTIRE door. We called our Travel Insurance company and asked if we were covered and they said ‘No.’.... we would only be covered if it was damaged caused by our own negligence and the acts of a child don’t fall into that category (even though I argued that I was negligent in keeping an eye on my child..) they said it would have to be something an adult did ON PURPOSE for us to be covered. How CRAZY is that! Damaged caused by a drunken hotel rampage: Covered. Damage caused by a curious, unwatched child: Not covered. Thankfully, the apartment owner had insurance to cover it, but only because we could show him a letter from our company stating that we were specifically NOT covered for it.

Insurance is taken out by people to cover costs of loss. You lost something. The water damage was caused by your landlords property. He needs to make a claim against his insurance.

JLeslie's avatar

@papayalily I am no expert about renters insurance, but I do know a little more about home owners insurance. For instance, if you own an apartment and the person above you has a flood, maybe they left the bathtub running, and it comes through to your apartment and damages your apartment, it is your insurance that must cover, much like my hurricane example.

Maybe in the situation the OP writes of the landlord might feel responsible and pay the tennant for some of the damage, but I have a feeling the law is not on the tennants side. The thing to remember is you are responsible for your own property while it is in your domicile, and if you want it replaced if damaged you should insure it.

perspicacious's avatar

Read your lease to see if this is addressed. Your landlord has a liability policy that would probably provide you some relief.

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