If I was deployed and the water in the toilet evaporated causing rats to infest my apartment, am I responsible for damages?

In the lease, I am responsible for maintenance and damages. However I was deployed for 7 months and the landlord was aware of that.

Asked on March 5, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Hawaii

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

This is a contract issue, since leases are contracts. If the lease stated that you are responsible for all damages due to leaks or maintenance issues, then you are responsible for them--even if you were deployed. People can assume the risks of loss by contract. If the lease stated that you would be responsible only for damages resulting from improper usage or inadequate maintenance, then you may have a defense, on the grounds that as a matter of fact, you were not using the toilet and therefore there was no maintenance necessary and no improper usage. The answer will depend on the lease language and the precise language in the lease; you should consult with an attorney who can evaluate both in detail for you. Good luck.


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