What to do if my tenant signed an agreement not to park in the driveway as part of the conditions of living at my home but she did anyway and I backed into her car?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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What to do if my tenant signed an agreement not to park in the driveway as part of the conditions of living at my home but she did anyway and I backed into her car?

I went to the car in my driveway saw nothing behind me backed up and felt a rub. The tenant had parked half of her car in the driveway and I side scraped her car. Is it my fault? Should I report to the insurance as she wants cash? I had a agreement that she would not park there yet she violated the signed agreement on my property.

Asked on November 15, 2015 under Accident Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

It's not actually clear that it's your fault in this case: even though ordinarily, it is the fault of the driver who hits a stationary/parked car, you had reason to believe that she would not be in your driveway (that no one would be parked there) and if she was half in the driveway, she was parked in an awkward, unexpected, and likely difficult-to-see spot. So it may be her fault, or at least part her fault, and it's not clear that you are liable for the damage, or at least for its full cost. You should most likely not simply pay her cash, but rather report to your insurer with a detailed description of the circumstances and a copy of the agreement to show the other person's breach of her signed word and your reasonable expectations.
If the agreement was part of the lease, you could also send her a written notice that she is in breach of her lease and that if she violates it again, you will evict her.

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