If my apartment and those below were damaged as a result of flooding which originated from my unit, am I liable for all repair costs?

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If my apartment and those below were damaged as a result of flooding which originated from my unit, am I liable for all repair costs?

The flooding originated from my bathroom sink. According to the Fire Department, the water was left running while I was out. The 2 units below suffered extensive damage to the drywall and flooring. I do not have renter’s insurance as my lease states the dwelling is insured and only my personal property wouldn’t be covered. However, the landlord states he will not file a claim because a) his policy does not cover flooding and b) the water was left running. According to the landlord it is my sole responsibility to take care of all repair arrangements and costs. What options do I have?

Asked on August 10, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Illinois

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If it has been determined that the damage was the result of negligence on your part (rather than say a defect in the building such as a pipe that burst) then you may be stuck for the repairs.  The landlord has flood insurance per se, in that if a pipe burst he would be covered for water damage.  But probably not for the negligence on the part of the tenant.  You could ask to see his policy but it is doubtful that he will let you see it.  The apartment below may have insurance but if they put in a claim that is paid out, the insurance company will be allowed to "subrogate" anything that they pay out for the claim by suing you. So you will be stuck either way. Your best bet her may be a good set of negotiation skills.  Make sure that you are paying only for putting the property back in the same condition it was before the damage.  In other words, don't pay for the replacement of gold when all they owned was tin.  Good luck.  


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