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

UPDATED: Sep 16, 2011

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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


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 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.

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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