Damaged Granite counter top

I moved back into my house to discover an 18
inch crack on the granite counter top. The
house was being rented out managed by a
property management company for six years. I
contacted the company and after the two experts
looked at the Damage the advice was to replace
the entire counter top or go after the builder
for possible faulty install. Mean time the
managent company only wants to do a temporary
repair with no warranty. HELP.

Asked on April 4, 2018 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

IF you could prove that a renter--or someone invited in by a renter--caused the damage, you could sue that person; but you *must* be able to prove by a "preponderance of the evidence" (more likely than not) who caused the damage to win.
The property manager would not be responsible unless your contract with them made them responsible for any damage; otherwise, unless *they* caused the damage (e.g. their maintenance person cracked it somehow) they are not liable. The management company is simply not liable absent a contract or without being at-fault in causing the damage.
The builder in theory could be liable for a bad installation, but you'd have to be able to prove in court that the bad installation or work caused the damage (and not that it cracked in the 6+ years after the installation due to say, some person--even if you can't prove which person--hitting it, banging into it, etc.).
As you can see, the problem you face is that the law doesn't let you hold someone liable without proof they caused the damage (or a contract stating that they have accepted responsibility for such damage regardless of fault), but since you did not live there for 6 years, you are almost certain to *not* have the necessary proof as to who caused the damage.  You may not have recourse against anyone.


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