When there is flooding in your apartment, who is responsible for personal damage?

UPDATED: Sep 15, 2011

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When there is flooding in your apartment, who is responsible for personal damage?

Last month before a hurricane, while I was out out town. We got a lot of rain. When I came back to my apartment, it was flooded and property was damaged. The landlord said she would compensate me for damages at that time which were $400. After the hurricane it flooded again and I told her again. I wasn’t able to stay in placeand now there is mold all over my property. She came to see damages and I took pictures. I don’t have renter’s insurance and I would like to know who is responsible for damages and if she is and doesn’t pay can I take her to court for payment?

Asked on September 15, 2011 under Real Estate Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

The landlord is probably *not* responsible for your loss of personal property, unless he or she caused the loss in some way--for example, left doors and windows open during the huricane. But if the damage was due to forces or factors beyond the landlord's control, the landlord is not responsible (legally or financially) for them. This is why people have insurance--to ensure compensation when there is no one at fault or responsible.

If the apartment is no uninhabitable or not safely inhabitable (e.g. due to mold) that may at least provide grounds to termiante the lease and vacate, for a violation for the implied warranty of habitability, though if the landlord can and does quickly remediate the problem, that would preven you from terminating.

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