What are our rights regarding water damage in out rental?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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What are our rights regarding water damage in out rental?

I have renter’s insurance. I had water damage that occurred from a water heater leak in the upper unit. I didnt think to ask my insurance company but told my landlord that water got into my storage and damaged most of my stuff. She just ignored me for months. Everything had mold so we threw it away. The second time the apartment installed a new sprinkler system and it started spraying water all over our storage door and water got into the sides and bottom. Our renter’s insurance wouldn’t cover anything in my lease; it said they are not responsible for personal property. So I’m not sure how this is OK. I’ve lost thousands and had to get extra storage.

Asked on October 10, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Washington


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

IF you can show that someone was actually "at fault" in causing either of the incidents of damage (for example: the upstairs neighbor negligently or carelessly did not notice and fix a leak which was in an area they could see, allowing damage to accumulate; the landlord's maintenance staff installed the sprinkler incorrectly or triggered it by mistake), you could sue that person or business for your losses. Someone who damages your property through negligence is responsible for the cost of the damage. The key is, you'd 1) have to sue them if they won't voluntarily pay; and 2) you'd have to be able to prove their fault in court. Fault is necessary for liability.
You should also double check what your policy says: if as you read it, your insurer should cover your personal property, you could sue your insurer for "breach of contract" (for not honoring their contractual obligations; an insurance policy is a contract) to force them to pay.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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