Who pays for damages if there was an accidental fire in the condo I am renting and I have no renter’s insurance?

UPDATED: Jun 21, 2011

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Who pays for damages if there was an accidental fire in the condo I am renting and I have no renter’s insurance?

My lease does not say that I have to carry renters insurance. None of my personal belongings were damaged. The owner stated that I would have to pay for the replacement of the roof, cabinets and carpet.

Asked on June 21, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Insurance does not determine who is responsible for paying; it provides a mechanism to indemnify or compensate or reimburse someone who has to pay. The issue of who has to pay generally comes down to fault, though this is just a general statement--for an analysis of your specific case, you should consult with an attorney. That said, as a general matter:

1) If the landlord was at fault (e.g. put in faulty wiring), or neither  the landlord nor the tenant was at fault, then the tenant does not have to pay for the repairs or replacement, and the fire would provide grounds to terminate the lease if the premises were not quickly made inhabitable again.

2) However, if the tenant--or the tenant's family, guests, pets, etc. were at fault (e.g. smoking in bed; knocked over a candle; misused the stove), then the tenant would be liableand would have to pay for repairs; and also, could not terminate the lease without having to pay all remaining amounts due thereunder.

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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