If we had a fire at the kitchen in our rented apartment, who is responsible to pay for the renovations?

The fire was due to kitchen grease, and there was no strorage of any imflamable materials there. The kitchen appliances got effected. The fire was controlled by us but due to the smoke the sprinkles started. This resulted in water damage. The homeowners want us pay for renovations. We did not have the rentars insurance. We do not admit fault. The kitchen is normally clean, with as less grease as possible. We dont find ourselves as fault and think this to be an accident. What should be our reply to the homeowners?

Asked on November 13, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Virginia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Most likely, you have to pay for the renovations. Tenants are typically responsible for all damage done to rental premises which occurs due to actions of themselves, or their family and guests. Even if you believe you were not at fault, the fact is that the grease was there due to your use of the kitchen, and the fire presumably started while you were cooking (since there would have to be an ignition source); those factors would make tenants liable for the cost of repairs. Certainly, you can refuse to pay and force the landlord to take legal action against you; however, be advised that if you go that route, there is a very good chance you will lose--and have to pay for your legal defense as well as the damages. Alternately, the landlord could repair, take the cost thereof from you security deposit, then sue you  for the balance if it's worthwhile for him to do so.


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.