If a tenant’s vehicle causes a fire in the leased premises, are they liable for the cost of repair?

UPDATED: Jul 19, 2011

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If a tenant’s vehicle causes a fire in the leased premises, are they liable for the cost of repair?

Are we responsible for the cost of repair if we were told by the owner of the building we could part our dune buggy in the building we rent for a business. The dune buggy caught on fire. Cause unknown.

Asked on July 19, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Virginia


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If the vehicle you were allowed to work on by the owner's building caught fire and you were negligent (careless) regarding the work you were doing which caused the fire, the person or persons who were working on the vehicle (and perhaps the car's owner) could very well be responsible for the property's cost of repair even though permission was granted to part out the dune buggy by the property's owner. He or she most likely expected the work to be done would be done in a safe manner so no damage to the property would occur.

I presume there was a fire report created by the fire department about the event. If there was, most likely there is an opinion as to the fire's cause.

Perhaps insurance for the car (if in place) and the property (if in place) would cover costs of repair for the damaged property.


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