If Ihad a fire in my apartment and the landlord asks me to pay, does he have the right?

Does he has the right to ask me pay the damages? It was reported that I “had been cooking oil and left it unattended for few minutes”. The landlord wants me to pay $6500. Is this report enough evidence that the fire was my fault? I think it might be the pan was badly manufactured orthe stove was malfunctioning and overheating?

Asked on August 27, 2011 Massachusetts

Answers:

Stan Helinski / McKinley Law Group

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Who drew the conclusion that you were cooking oil and left it unattended? Fire Department? 

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You need to carefully read the terms of the written lease (assuming you have one) as to the obligations you owe the landlord and vice versa in that it controls absent conflicting state law. If there is a provision regarding damages to the unit you are renting, you need to carefully read it.

In all likelihood, the fire report and the conclusion that you caused the fire is prima facia evidence that you will be responsible for the repairs of the unit caused by the fire that occurred in the cooking area of the unit you are renting.

Since it appears that the fire and resulting damages are caused by you and your possible negligence in leaving the kitchen unattended when you were cooking, the landlord has the right to request that you pay the damages to repair his property.

Hopefully you have renter's insurance.

Good luck.


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