Am I responsible to pay the deductible on a rental property due to fire damage?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Am I responsible to pay the deductible on a rental property due to fire damage?

My house started on fire this summer. My landlord is trying to charge me the insurance deductible when the insurance company could not find conclusive evidence as to what caused the fire. He says I’m responsible when no where in my lease is there a clause saying that I’m responsibility for damages such as this. What should I do because I am not the cause of this fire nor am I paying his $500 deductible?

Asked on October 18, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Utah

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

As a general matter, a tenant is only responsible for damage which he or she (or his or her family, guests, pets, etc.) caused, unless and only to the extent that there is some lease or other contract term to the contrary, making the tenant responsible regardless of cause.

So if you were not responsible, you should most likely not have to pay; but the landlord and/or the landlord's insurer doesn't necessarily have to believe you or take you at your word. If they feel that you might have been responsible, they can ask for  payment from you; if you don't pay, they may sue you (including potentially in small claims court), where they have the opportunity to try to prove that you were responsible for the loss.


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.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption