What are my rights regarding water damage?

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What are my rights regarding water damage?

I want to terminate my lease early because I recently became unemployed. Then I was away from my apartment for almost 2 weeks and a water heater on the floor above me broke and caused water damage to my floor. I noticed the damage when I returned and informed the landlord at the same time I asked to get out of my lease agreement. The landlord is now stating I am responsible for the replacement of the carpet because I didn’t have renter’s insurance. Is this allowed?

Asked on June 21, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Kentucky

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You would only be responsible for replacing the carpet IF you had a written lease specifically stating that you would be responsible for this cost if you did not have renter's insurance. Other than that--that is, if you did not contractually agree to take responsibility for this cost--you are not responsible for damage to the premises which is not caused by you or your household, guests, or pets. The landlord has to repair/replace the carpet; if the tenant above you was at fault somehow in causing the waterheater to burst, the landlord could try to recover the cost from him or her, or possibly sue the manufacturer or installer if the heater was designed, built, or installed improperly.


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