Ifthe property manager did not put locks on the windows and due to that we were robbed, can I hold the owner responsible?

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Ifthe property manager did not put locks on the windows and due to that we were robbed, can I hold the owner responsible?

I had not completely finished moving into my rental property before it had been robbed. The property manager had not put screens or storm windows on the home, and there were no locks on the windows either. There was no forced entry, as they simply slid the window open and stole some very precious belongings. Now in my lease, it states; PROPERTY LOSS, “Management shall not be liable for damage to residents property of any type for any reason cause or whatsoever, except where is such due to gross negligence.” Can I hold my landlord responsible for the reimbursement of the stolen items?

Asked on January 30, 2012 under Real Estate Law, South Carolina

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Here your landlord committed gross negligence by not having locks on the windows. However, if you noticed that there were no locks prior to move in, you may also bear the burden or part of the damages because you knowingly left belongings in there when you had knowledge there was no secure lock or there were no secure locks on the windows (not sure if screens would constitute negligence in and of themsevles). However, if you were unaware of the lack of locks, then it would not have been your fault and it was only through the fault of the landlord this loss occurred. Make sure you communicate with your landlord in writing, do not move in or keep anything expensive or irreplacable in there without locks being installed. Make sure you also file a complaint with the agency or agencies in your state or county or city who handle landlord tenant consumer protection matters.


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