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

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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

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 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.


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