ShouldIbe charged for a door by my landlord if it jammed and had to be broken to get it opened?

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ShouldIbe charged for a door by my landlord if it jammed and had to be broken to get it opened?

My spouse and I rent an apartment 3 levels high off the ground. We just put our 2 year old daughter to bed, locked up our front door, and stepped out on the balcony for a cigarette. The sliding glass door to the balcony had locked us out after stepping outside. We tried calling the complex’s emergency services leaving a descriptive voice-mail of the situation. We never got a proper response. Finally we decided to call the fire department. They broke through the door to get us off the balcony and to the aid of our daughter. Now they are making us pay $350 for the door.

Asked on September 9, 2011 under Real Estate Law, South Carolina

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

In your question the cause of you being locked out of the unit is not entirely clear. If you or your spouse caused the lock out of your unit resulting in the door being damaged by the fire department then you are responsible for the repair of the door.

Even if the door malfunctioned on its own locking you out resulting in the calling of the fire department who ended up damaging the door, the events leading to the damage were started by you, most likely you are still responsible for the repairs for the door.

There is no evidence that the landlord knew of the problem door before the fire department was called. Absent this and the fact that you were in possession of the unit where the door was damaged, resonsibility for its repair seems to rest upon you.


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