If a window in our rental was broken in an attempted forced entry, whose responsibility is it to pay for the repair?

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If a window in our rental was broken in an attempted forced entry, whose responsibility is it to pay for the repair?

We came home one night to a broken window by our back door. We also noticed markings on the door itself as if someone did try to get in. We contacted the LL and then we replaced the window the next day as it was directly in our backyard and we have a small toddler and dogs. We advised the LL who says he isn’t responsible to reimburse us.We also had a faulty stovetop that we thought we broke and are out more money since he would not reimburse for that either.

Asked on July 6, 2011 under Real Estate Law, New York

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The general rule regarding such repairs is that: any damage caused by the negligence or intentional act of the tenant is the tenant's responsibility; any damage that could be categorized as  "normal wear and tear" or something essentially random like storm damage, is the landlord's responsibility. A window broken as the result of an attempted break-in would constitute random damage; accordingly your landlord should pay for its replacement.

Note: In a situation that is not clear-cut, courts tend to side with tenants; consequently landlords must prove that the responsibility to repair should lie with the tenant.

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The general rule regarding such repairs is that: any damage caused by the negligence or intentional act of the tenant is the tenant's responsibility; any damage that could be categorized as  "normal wear and tear" or something essentially random like storm damage, is the landlord's responsibility. A window broken as the result of an attempted break-in would constitute random damage; accordingly your landlord should pay for its replacement.

Note: In a situation that is not clear-cut, courts tend to side with tenants; consequently landlords must prove that the responsibility to repair should lie with the tenant.


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