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timothykinney's avatar

Seeking advice on a lease agreement.

Asked by timothykinney (2743points) July 16th, 2008

“RESIDENT agrees to reimburse OWNER for any loss by fire, for any property damage, or for repairs or service which were caused by the negligence or improper use on the part of RESIDENT, their family or guests. These charges are payable at the time of the next rental payment.”

How can I change this so that I’m only liable for the damage that is my fault? There are other tenants who live along the same hallway and it sounds like I’m also responsible if they start a fire.

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10 Answers

timothykinney's avatar

Clarification: “any loss by fire” seems ambiguous to me. I want it to clearly say that I am responsible for loss by fire if it was legally determined that the fire was caused by me.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

hey!! lady-face finally gave you a lease, and you didn’t even tell me?

you should read the definition section at the beginning of the lease and see what the definition of “resident” is. it probably will say that it refers to the person that signs this lease, meaning you. if it says something different, then you should clarify this.

timothykinney's avatar

If there was a fire started by another tenant that destroyed my unit I could see this clause causing trouble for me: “Resident agrees to reimburse Owner for any loss by fire…” although at the end of the sentence it says “caused by the negligence or improper use on the part of the Resident”, I think the use of English is ambiguous. The paragraph could be interpreted in court to say “Resident agrees…(to pay)...for ANY loss by fire and ANY property damage. Resident also agrees…(to pay)...for repairs or service which are caused…[by] Resident” meaning that I am only liable for repairs that I caused, but for all fire and property damage.

I just want it to be more clear.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

i think it’s pretty clear. it’s in the same sentence. it doesn’t say “any loss by fire period.” it says caused by “resident” so as long as the definition of resident clearly states that it’s you, i really think that it’s fine…

or you’re saying that you want it to say “legally determined to be caused by resident” so that she can’t argue you caused some damage that some other ppl actually caused?

timothykinney's avatar

I would agree except for the word “for” in front of “any property damage”, it sounds to me like it’s starting a new case. Thanks for your advice gomela!!!

La_chica_gomela's avatar

“thanks for my advice, gomela”

you are so welcome, timothy kinney. you know i would give it to you even if you didnt ask me. oh wait, you didn’t ask me. hahahahahahahaha.

marinelife's avatar

I think you are misreading it: “which were caused by the negligence or improper use on the part of RESIDENT, their family or guests” is not ambiguous. It is part of the same sentence. You should not have any problem.

La_chica_gomela is also correct that a word in caps like RESIDENT or OWNER is probably defined at the top of the lease. That would preclude them saying you were responsible if another tenant set a fire.

If you still don’t believe, consult an attorney or run it by the landlord tenant resolution group in your area.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

haha! a random stranger agrees with me!

But if you’re really that concerned I bet Bob would take a look at it free of charge if I asked him to.

timothykinney's avatar

I guess I’m just afraid of people using the letter of the law to screw other people over. It’s a symptom of a pro-litigation society.

Thanks for your answers!

jvgr's avatar

The whole point of “letter of the law” is to allow 2 parties in a contract to agree, in full, what each will receive and be responsible for. If you are presented with a contract that is clearly not mutually beneficial, you won’t want to sign it.

In any event, you can’t escape being responsible for the negligent actions of your guest; at least not here.

You might also check with your State/County, who often have regulations about leasing/renting and frequently have information to assist.

Finally, make sure you get your own tenant insurance (in case it’s not required by your lease). The landlord’s insurance will cover the cost of the building only, not your possessions.

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