Who is responsible in a rental situation for an increased water bill caused by a broken sprinkler?

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Who is responsible in a rental situation for an increased water bill caused by a broken sprinkler?

I own a rental property and last month my tenant called me to tell me that he just got home and it looked like there was a broken sprinker line in the backyard. I went over within 1/2 hour to turn off the water to the yard. Now he has a high water bill. Who’s responsible? The agreement says the tenant is responsible to the water bill and I felt like I had the problem resolved in a timely matter.

Asked on September 4, 2012 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

As landlord, you are responsible for maintenance and repairs, unless and only to the extent the damage or problem was caused by something the tenant did. Therefore, unless the tenant damaged the sprinkler line, you would be responsible for the tenant's costs or other losses, such as a high water bill, resultinig from a damaged line.


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