Can a landlord require tenants to purchase liability renter’s insurance?

UPDATED: Feb 15, 2011

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Can a landlord require tenants to purchase liability renter’s insurance?

I have lived in my current apartments for 4 years. Before renewing my lease, the company that currently owns the complex is requiring proof of liability renter’s insurance. Can they do this?

Asked on February 15, 2011 under Real Estate Law, South Carolina


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

A lease is a contract between parties.  The idea around a contract is that the parties bargain for the contract terms: length of the contract, consideration (apartment for money), etc.  If the landlord wants to add a NEW provision in a NEWlease then it may be permissible.  But I would have someone read the old lease to check on something: if there is a renewal clause and how it effects you.  If you are permitted to renew under the same terms then maybe you have an argument, albeit slight.  What the landlord is doing here is limiting his liability and shifting it somewhat to you as a renter.  There is really nothing wrong with that and quite frankly, you should consider buying the insurance anyway.  It is inexpensive and worth it should something happen.  Good luck. 

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