What can I do if I have a tenant who did not contact me and made an unauthorized electrical repair to my property?

They presented me after the fact with a bill for electrical repair of $820. I have my own repairmen that I utilize for repairs. If the repair to the property was unauthorized and without an estimate for repair prior to my authorization am I liable for the billing? This occurred once before when the tenant called a plumber for a clogged drain without my authorization. At that time I told the tenant I would cover it this time but that I had my own repairmen and that he needed to advise me of any necessary repairs and not call for his own repairs to the property.

Asked on February 3, 2016 under Real Estate Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

No, you are not liable for an unauthorized repair. This is the case generally--a tenant may not make changes, renovations, repairs, etc. to the landlord's property and charge the landlord unless the work was required owing to an emergency (e.g. there's a big water leak or gas leak and no time to do anything but have it fixed), and is doubly so under the terms of the lease you quoted, which require your prior written consent. The signed signed a contract (that's what a lease is: a contract) agreeing to not do work without your consent and can be held to what he agreed to. The tenant will have to pay this himself.

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