Who pays for a stolen A/C unit – the landlord or the tenant?

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Who pays for a stolen A/C unit – the landlord or the tenant?

Our tenant had moved out but did not hand over the keys to us for days despite our requests. In that time the air conditioning unit was stolen from the backyard. There was no lock on the side gate that acessed the backyard. Who is liable for this loss? (Does her renter’s insurance pay for this because she was still in control of the house or does my insurance pay for this?

Asked on April 4, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Arizona

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

A tenant is only responsible for the theft, damage, or destruction of the landlord's property if she is literally responsible for that--that is, if the loss were directly caused by something the tenant, her family, guests, or pets, did. If the A/C was stolen from a location that could have been accessed without the tenant's involvement, the tenant (or her insurance) would only be liable if she was involved in the theft (i.e. if she helped steal it).


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