If my landlord lost their master keys andI was subsequently robbed, is my landlord responsible for replacing my stolen items?

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If my landlord lost their master keys andI was subsequently robbed, is my landlord responsible for replacing my stolen items?

My landlord left the set of master keys in a vacant apartment next door to me and as a result, whoever stole the keys robbed my apartment. The landlord didn’t notify any of the tenants that the keys were missing and didn’t plan to. It came out only because my apartment was robbed. I don’t have renters insurance but they didn’t require it. I feel like it is their faultbecause if they didn’t leave the keys, my apartment wouldn’t have been robbed. Do I have a valid claim? Would they be responsible for replacing the items? Now, on top of everything I don’t feel safe in my own house anymore.

Asked on September 29, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Virginia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

The answer is you *might* have a valid claim. When someone causes financial loss to another due to negligence, or unreasonable carelessness, that person may be liable for the losses or costs. In the case, the landlord may have been negligent in losing the master keys and also in not then notifying tenants of the loss. However, there is no hard-and-fast rule for what is or is not negligence--it depends on all the circumstances. You should probably speak with an attorney, preferably one with landlord-tenant experience, who can listen to your story, evaluate you situation, and advise you as to whether or not you may have a claim and what it might be worth. Many lawyers will provide a brief free initial consultatation, to at least determine if the potential client does in fact have a cognizable case. Good luck.


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