If my friend had a fire in her apartment, can the landlord sue to recover damages due to the fire if she had no renter’s insurance?

Asked on December 24, 2012 under Real Estate Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If your friend caused the fire through her negligence, or unreasonable carelessness, such as by leaving a lit stove unattended, plugging too many appliances into an outlet, smoking in bed, being careless with candles, etc. (or if she deliberately caused a fire), then yes, the landlord could both recover compensation from her security deposit and/or sue her for the cost to repair. The fact that she had no renter's insurance only means that she has no one, but herself, to pay for the cost of her legal defense or to pay any judgment against her; it does not prevent her from being sued. (There is no law saying you can only sue people with insurance.)

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