Am I financially responsible forrelpacing a broken window in my apartment?

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Am I financially responsible forrelpacing a broken window in my apartment?

I attempted to open the front window of my apartment but found it stuck. I went to the outside to see if there was anything in the way and proceeded to slide the window. Without excessive force the window derailed easily and shattered, am i responsible? My first point it that the window was very old and clearly not in working order. I feel this is also an issue of security if it shattered so easily. Would this fall under the landlord’s responsibility to provide a secure “habitable” apartment?

Asked on August 6, 2010 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

The general rule for tenant's responsibility to repair items in a rental apartment can be summed up as, "If you break it, you bought it." Tenants need to pay to repair or replace things that they broke.

The implied warranty of habitability applies to major conditions such as no heat in northern apartments, large holes in roof, significant mold or insect infestations, no electricity, no indoor (working) plumbing, etc. A balky or old window would not involve this obligation.

Windows are always a potential security weak point. An intruder can break essentially any window, and if the window shattered a bit more easily, that does not change matters. Unless your lease provided for an extra level of security beyond the norm, or you only rented based upon represenations that it was a particularly secure apartment, the fact that a window broke does not mean there was any breach.

In sum, it is most likely your responsibility to repair or replace.


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