What to do if I rented a duplex that caught fire and was damaged to the point that it was unlivable?

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What to do if I rented a duplex that caught fire and was damaged to the point that it was unlivable?

Most of my belonging were damaged or destroyed due to water/fire/smoke damage. My neighbor was the one who, through careless smoking, started the fire (as determined in the cause of fire report). What kind of options should I be looking at?

Asked on October 24, 2013 under Personal Injury, Wisconsin

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Best option: if you have renter's insurance that would cover all or most of your loss, put in a claim--that's what insurance is for--and let your insurer then seek reimbursement from the neighbor.

If you can't or don't want to put in a claim, then if you believe your neighbor caused the fire and your losses through his negligence (unreasonable carelessness), you could sue him for compensation: i.e. for the cost to repair what could be repaired, for the value of anything destroyed, for other out-of-pocket costs (like staying at a hotel), etc.

Your landlord would not be financially liable for the careless acts of another tenant or adjacent property owner (if the neighbor owned his unit).


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