What to do if my apartment ended up flooded on Thanksgiving and my lease states that management is not responsible for any damages?

UPDATED: Nov 28, 2012

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What to do if my apartment ended up flooded on Thanksgiving and my lease states that management is not responsible for any damages?

It further states that as a renter it is my responsibility to have renters insurance. However, there was a large degree of negligence on the part of management that contributed to the problem. Might I still have a case?

Asked on November 28, 2012 under Real Estate Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

A provision in the lease which states that the landlord is not responsible for damages from flooding (or otherwise) is generally enforceable; if someone chooses to sign such a lease, he or she gives up his or her right to seek compensation from the landlord. There are exceptions if the landlord's behavior causing or contributing to the loss was sufficiently reckless or even intentional, since the law generally does not allow people to avoid their responsibility for reckless (also called "grossly negligent) or intentional acts, but it is only rarely the case that a landlord's actions would meet this standard. Much more often, if the landlord did anything wrong, it was by simple negligence--everyday carelessness--and a lease provision like the one you describe can protect the landlord from liability for common negligence. Similarly, a lease provision obligating the tenant to have his or her own renter's insurance is also enforceable.

Therefore, while you can try suing the landord, be advised that there is a considerable likelihood that by having signed a lease with the stated provisions, you have prevented yourself from recovering money in a situation like this.

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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