Who is respnsible for damages to a rental home resulting from a break-in?

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Who is respnsible for damages to a rental home resulting from a break-in?

My property was broken into and my landlord made me pay to repair the damages. My lease states I am responsible for damages beyond normal wear and tear. Does this mean I should have to pay for the damages even though there is a police report filed? Isn’t this what homeowners insurance is for? I used my rental insurance to replace the things that were broken of mine but it did not cover the house itself.

Asked on February 16, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Virginia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

It is legal for a tenant to agree to pay for damages resulting from a break in; the issue is whether you in fact agreed to do so. Ordinarily, lease clauses making a tenant responsible for damage beyond ordinary wear and tear refer to damage done by the tenant, his family, and his guests (including contractors he hires). It does not normally refer to damage done by third parties not under the tenant's control, such as burglars. It is very unlikely that the standard lease language in this regard would be held to make you liable, though it's not impossible that the lease contains language which would; a definitive answer to your question, therefore, depends on what, exactly, the lease says, You may wish to bring it to an attorney to review.


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