If a fire started in my apartment while I was away due to no fault of my own, what are my rights?

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If a fire started in my apartment while I was away due to no fault of my own, what are my rights?

All electronics where unplugged and proper safety measures taken. The fire appears to be due to a pre-existing electrical issue within the apartment. Without renters insurance, what leg do I have to stand on as far as damage claims?

Asked on December 17, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Georgia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If you did not cause the fire, you would not be responsible for the landlord's losses (e.g. property damage).

In terms of your own losses--your landlord is not your insurer; they are only liable for your losses to the extent they were at fault. If the fire started  due to an electrical issue which either the landlord was aware of (for example, you had reported an electrical problem to the landlord) or should have been aware of (for example, it was an exposed and obviously damaged wire, which they should have noticed when they last were showing/inspecting/painting/etc. the apartment) and they failed, despite knowing of the problem to correct it, then the landlord may be liable, or financially responsible, for your loss. In this case, their failure to act would have been negligent, or unreasonably careless.

However, if the landlord was not at fault, then the landlord would not be liable or responsible for  your loss.


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