If I was viewing a home that I was thinking of purchasing but my little boy got locked in so the door had to be broken down, am I liable for the cost to repair it?

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If I was viewing a home that I was thinking of purchasing but my little boy got locked in so the door had to be broken down, am I liable for the cost to repair it?

He ran into a room at that home and shut the door quickly. Little did we know that the doors locked when opened fully and no keys were on the premises. My realtor tried to get in touch with the listing agent but to no avail. Her husband (my realtor) ended up breaking down the door because my 1 year-old was trapped and the home was 80 degrees with no air conditioning that functioned. My realtor now says I’m to pay to fix the door.

Asked on June 29, 2015 under Real Estate Law, North Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you most likely do have to pay, and if you don't pay, most likely they could recover the money in court, if they chose to sue. Someone is liable, or financially obligated to pay, if they are negligent, or careless, and damage another's property. A parent is under a duty to keep on eye on his/her children and prevent them from doing things that lead to property damage; by not preventing your son from running into a room in a strange house and locking the door, you would most likely be considered to have been negligent and therefore at fault, so liable to pay.


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