If my apartment burns because of an electrical wiring problem, who is responsible for the damages and my items?

UPDATED: Mar 7, 2012

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If my apartment burns because of an electrical wiring problem, who is responsible for the damages and my items?

Asked on March 7, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Alabama


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If the electrical wiring was installed incorrectly or was not maintained properly, then the landlord should be responsible. (Though if you have renter's insurance which would cover, you may wish to submit a claim, then let the insurer seek reimbursement of the pay out or settlement from the landlord or the landlord's insurer.) Depending on the circumstances, the landlord in turn may be able to sue electricians, contractors, etc.--but that's not your concern.

If there was no actual problem with the wiring (which does happen sometimes), or the wiring caught fire due to some factor beyond the landlord's control, then he would not be responsible for your loss--the landlord is not your insurer, and is only responsible to the extent there is fault.

If you caused the problem (e.g. spilled coffee in an electrical outlet; hammered a nail into a junction box while trying to hang a picture; overloaded the circuits by running too many appliances off one outlet; etc.) then not only would you be responsible for your loss, but you might be resonsible for the damage to the apartment/building, too.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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