What are a tenants right regarding damage to their belongings because of a burst water heater?

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What are a tenants right regarding damage to their belongings because of a burst water heater?

My apartment water heater burst and caused a lot of damage to my personal things (also my downstairs neighbor’s stuff.) I don’t have renters insurance and it looks like the main corporate office doesn’t want to cover any of my damaged stuff. Also, there’s mold growing of my furniture because of the water. damage.

Asked on September 16, 2011 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If the water heater burst due to poor maintaince or repair or anything else the landlord is responsible for, then the landlord would very likely be liable, or financially responsible for the damage to your belongings. However, if the landlord was not responsible--that is, if all installation, maintenance, repair, inspectinon, etc. was done properly--then it is likely that the landlord is not liable. Your landlord is not your insurer--they are financially responsible for losses that they are in some way actually responsible for (which occured due to their actions or negligence), but they don't have to cover all losses within your rented space. Furthermore, even if the landlord were arguable liable, if they don't voluntarily honor their responsibility, you will need to sue them (and win) to receive compensastion.


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