Is the tenant responsible for damages after moving out?

Tenants moved out and
turned in keys. I Did not
notice that they left the
recessed refrigerator
water valve dripping water
they did not shut it off
completely. The water
went into the wall and had
to be repaired. Can I
take this damages out of
The security deposit?
Thanks

Asked on June 2, 2017 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If a tenant causes damage to rental property (whether intentional or negligently), they are liable for it. This is true even if such damage is not discovered until after they vacate the premises. To cover your costs, you legally have the right to take the amount out of their security deposit. Just be sure to document all expneses associated with having to repair the damage so you can show it to the tenant as proof of your claim.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you can: if the tenant, by his/her negligence (carelessness) caused damage, even if the damage did not manifest or was not discovered until after the move-out date, they are still liable for it. The issue is not the date of the damage: it's whether it was caused by the tenant due to negligence. If so, they are responsible. You could take the repair cost out of the security deposit.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.