Without a lease agreement is landlord responsible for my property damage due to sewage back up and flood?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 14, 2012

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Insurance Question from Colorado Springs, CO

Asked on 07/14/2012

Without a lease agreement is landlord responsible for my property damage due to sewage back up and flood? I have asked for my tolite to be fixed since moving in 2 months ago. Now there is a sewage flood. Its been 9 days since incident. No repairs/clean up has been made, But LL filed and received payment on claim filed. He is NOT the owner, he did NOT file the claim his contractor (who he told me was insurance adjuster) did. He refuses to give me OWNERS contact info. We have no lease. 9 days since flood, imagine how my apt smells. They were supposed to bring boxes and provide a hotel and never did.I just moved in. I paid rent same day as flood. Wont give rent back. Please help. No $ for lawyer

Answer given on July 16, 2012

If your property was damaged by a sewer backup that is the responsibility of the landlord, then you should be paid for the damages and repairs to the plumbing should be done at the landlord’s expense. There is no requirement to be a lease for you to be reimbursed, but the damaged must be due to the negligence of the property owner. If there was no negligence, then the landlord would not be responsible.It seems odd that you would not take any steps to repair the damage to the unit while waiting for the landlord to clean it up. Step up and start the clean up, taking photos. Fight with the landlord later about the damages and costs. You are creating a hazardous living environment for yourself and any family members.If you have renters insurance, cantact your insurance company as there may be coverage for the damage done to your property. The insurance company can also investigate and see if there is negligence by the landlord and if so they will subrogate for reimbursement.Why you moved into an apartment and did not know who the owner is, nor have a contact number is not good sense on your part. Get back in touch with the landlord and see if they can offer any assistance to cleaning up the unit, but start in on the work yourself immediately.

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