If I rent an apartment and my sister left the water in the kitchen sink running which caused damage to the downstairs unit, am I liable to pay?

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If I rent an apartment and my sister left the water in the kitchen sink running which caused damage to the downstairs unit, am I liable to pay?

I was not allowed to see the damage or any evidence that there truly was damage. The neighbor downstairs claims that 15 minutes worth of water caused 6k worth of damage.

Asked on June 22, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Indiana

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If a household member or guest of yours caused damage to another person's property either deliberately or negligently (through carelessness), you would be liable for that damage--i.e. for the cost to repair. You do not need to pay more than the actual cost of the damage, such as the cost to repair with like or similar quality; that is, you do not have to pay for an upgrade or remodel. You could refuse to pay unless the neighbor allows you to see the damage and also review the estimates/proposals (to satisfy yourself the damage is real and the estimates reasonable). If the neighbor will not do this, you could refuse to pay entirely and let him/her sue you. In a lawsuit, there are ways for you to get his information, and the neighbor would have to prove the extent and cost of the damage to get the amount he or she is seeking (or will will only get an amount equal to what he or she can prove).


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