If my daughter damaged a wall in our garage when parking our car, do I have to let the landlord repair the damage at high costs or can I have it repaired?

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If my daughter damaged a wall in our garage when parking our car, do I have to let the landlord repair the damage at high costs or can I have it repaired?

My daughter hit a wall in our garage with our car. The landlord refuses to let me do the repairs. Instead he wants me to pay a high price to his people. I’m a superintendent for a construction contractor, and it is just damage to the drywall. What are my rights?

Asked on November 10, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

1) You have no right to make  the landlord allow you to repair the damage yourself. You are liable for the damage, but the landlord may (within reason; see below) choose who makes the repair.

2) The landlord cannot charge you for his own staff's time--i.e. for the time of anyone who'd be working and being paid then anyway (e.g. a superintendent or on-staff maintenance person). He can charge you for anyone brought in for that repair, who charges the landlord specifically for it, such as a contractor. You can also be charged for materials costs, no matter who does it.

3) You are only obligated to pay "reasonable costs." While that's not the same thing as only paying the lowest bid or possible cost, the landlord also cannot charge you much more than the normal rate in your area for this. You have a right to see the estimates or bills; to get your own estimates; and  you could challenge--in court if need be--amounts that are unsubstantiated or clearly excessive.


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