Am I responsible for damage to a lawnmower that my landlord borrowed from someone else and left in mygarage?

UPDATED: Sep 13, 2011

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Am I responsible for damage to a lawnmower that my landlord borrowed from someone else and left in mygarage?

The lawnmower that was left in my garage started to leak gas. My neighbor in the duplex asked for it to be moved outside. It got rained on, and now it doesn’t work. Am I responsible for the repairs?

Asked on September 13, 2011 under Real Estate Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Where you the one who moved it outside? If so, then you may be liable: it was your negligent action (a careless action; leaving the lawnmower exposed to the elements) which caused the damage. Possibly you may in turn have a cause of action against your landlord, if he or she did not have either the permission or the right (under the terms of the lease) to put it into your garage, but that would not change the fact that the lawnmower's owner would seem to have a cause of action against you. (And if the landlord had the right or permission to put the lawnmower there, you can't sue him or her.) You had other, non-negligent options for dealing with lawnmower--e.g. have the landlord or the owner pick it up--so the fact that you left it exposed to the elements is what makes your action negligent.

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