My neighbors tenant crashed into my fence. Who is responsible for the repairs?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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My neighbors tenant crashed into my fence. Who is responsible for the repairs?

I live next to a multi family home. One of the tenants has damaged
my fence. I didn’t witness the damage being done but only his
tenants park on the other side of my fence.

Asked on April 9, 2016 under Accident Law, Massachusetts


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

IF you could prove that the tenat crashed into your fence, the tenant would  be responsible: a person who is at fault in damaging another's property (and since it is negligent, or unreasonably careless, to crash into a stationary object, a person who runs into a fence is essentially always at fault) is liable for paying for the damage. The neighbor him/herself is not liable unless he/she was driving the car: being a landlord does not make you liable for  the wrongful acts of your tenants.
But you need *proof*: you cannot win a case by saing that "only his tenants park on the other side of my fence," since it could have been a guest or visitor of a tenant, or a pizza delivery guy, or anyone else in the area (e.g. a drunk driver; a bad new teen driver; etc.) who did the damage. You need evidence to connect a specific person to the damage, such as eyewitness tesimony; someone's "confession" or admission they did damage; security camera footage; damage on a person's car matching the damage to your fence; etc. Without evidence, you will be unable to make anyone pay.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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