If someone tried to break into a house that I was renting, am I responsible for the damage they caused?

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If someone tried to break into a house that I was renting, am I responsible for the damage they caused?

While I was at school, someone tried to break into my house as well as several other houses on the block. I filed a police report and an officer came to the house to make sure everything was alright. I also contacted my insurance company that informed me that they only covered things inside the house and not the domicile itself. After doing all of this, I emailed my landlord to let him know what had happened so that he could contact his insurance company and get the door fixed. He never responded and never fixed the door and is now trying to charge me for the repairs since I have moved out.

Asked on August 14, 2011 Washington

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The general rule regarding rental repairs is that: any damage caused by the intentional act or negligence of the tenant is the tenant's responsibility; any damage that could be categorized as  "normal wear and tear" or something random like storm damage, is the landlord's responsibility. A door that was broken as the result of an attempted break-in would constitute random damage; accordingly your landlord should pay for its replacement.

Note: In a situation that is not clear-cut, judges typically side with the tenant; consequently a landlord must prove that the responsibility to repair should lie with the tenant.


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