If my apartment burns because of an electrical wiring problem, who is responsible for the damages and my items?

Asked on March 7, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Alabama

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If the electrical wiring was installed incorrectly or was not maintained properly, then the landlord should be responsible. (Though if you have renter's insurance which would cover, you may wish to submit a claim, then let the insurer seek reimbursement of the pay out or settlement from the landlord or the landlord's insurer.) Depending on the circumstances, the landlord in turn may be able to sue electricians, contractors, etc.--but that's not your concern.

If there was no actual problem with the wiring (which does happen sometimes), or the wiring caught fire due to some factor beyond the landlord's control, then he would not be responsible for your loss--the landlord is not your insurer, and is only responsible to the extent there is fault.

If you caused the problem (e.g. spilled coffee in an electrical outlet; hammered a nail into a junction box while trying to hang a picture; overloaded the circuits by running too many appliances off one outlet; etc.) then not only would you be responsible for your loss, but you might be resonsible for the damage to the apartment/building, too.


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