Legal Question - Landlord's Responsibilities

kaleidoscopeeyes8April 17, 2007

My roommate and I went away for a weekend and came home to find that our fridge had died, taking all of our groceries with it, some of which were rather recently purchased. I contacted our landlord on Sunday morning, and we had a new fridge by Sunday evening.

However, today I called my landlord because we want our groceries replaced, and he said it was not his concern. I thought, since the apartment complex owns the appliances, that failure of an appliance should mean reimbursement for the tenant. He said that since the fridge did not break because of a direct action or negligence on management's part that it is not their responsibility to replace our groceries.

Legally, is this true?

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It is your responsibility to replace your own groceries. The landlord did his end by getting you a new fridge the same day you noticed yours was out. Give credit to him for being on the ball with that and as far as loosing food due to a bad fridge, it is just part of life that we all face at one time or another.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2007 at 10:17AM
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Your landord is correct, most leases state they are not responsible for damages to tenants property. thats why its a good idea to get renters insurance. maybe if you had renters insurance they might cover it if your loss was great enough to execed your deductable. Just be happy you have a landlord that took care of the problem the same day you discovered it, move on and don't whine.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2007 at 1:10PM
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You had a new fridge a few HOURS after contacting him and you're miffed? Consider yourself lucky. Your landlord could have put it off for weeks or months inconveniencing you. He could have tried charging YOU for the broken fridge claiming that you "broke it". You were too cheap to get renters insurance and now you want someone else to rescue you. Use this incident as a learning experience and get renters insurance so that you are prepared for the next disaster.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2007 at 3:11PM
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Definitely get renter's insurance--I think it covers stuff like this (homeowner's insurance does), and it covers all your stuff if there's a fire.

A friend of mine here at work had a fire in the apartment next to hers--she lost pretty much everything. And she didn't have renter's insurance.

It was mostly hand-me-down furniture, etc., but having to replace EVERYTHING all at once is really expensive. Plus she has nowhere to live right now.

A friend at a DIFFERENT job had a fire, but she had renter's insurance. It paid for her hotel that night, it paid for all her stuff, and I think it even paid for the other place she lived while she was waiting for her place to be fixed.

Every renter should have renter's insurance. I'm kicking myself that I didn't have it back when I was renting.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2007 at 3:22PM
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Every state is different. I had this exact thing happen in MN. My attorney said as long as I recomended renters insurance in writing I did not have to replace the groceries. It was in my lease.

I would have paid a few bucks but the guy was a complete jerk about the entire ordeal. He also sent me a bill for $280 worth of stuff from his apartment sized fridge. When I got the bill I knew he wasn't getting a dime.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2007 at 11:20PM
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yes all renters should have insurance. I told my tenant he should have it to cover his things in the event of a fire flood from a broken pipe or anyting. my lease states that I am not responsible for damages to their things for any reason like fire, water damage or breakin. since I live there too I have a homeowners policy that covers the building and my things but not anything in rented space. since renters incurance just covers personal property and a small amount of liablity its usually cheap to get. in my area depending on your credit rating its often $100 per year or less for a basic policy.

when my brother rented in key west he and his wife lost alot to hurricane Willma and didn't have insurance. They had to live with out alot of things untill they could replace them. Now that they are back in PA they have insurance now. they learned the hard way that its wise to have the insurance just in case.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 9:46AM
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Your landlord was a prince to replace your refrigerator within 24 hours.

I have friends who live in rentals. This happened to them too. Their landlord made them wait several days to replace their refrigerator. No reimbursement for the lost groceries. Plus, he replaced it with another older model and IT ended up freezing all their newly purchased groceries! This "newer" (older than dirt) one also had to be replaced. Guess how much time THAT took? Several more days. I would consider myself lucky that you have such a responsive landlord.

Here is something else to think about regarding renter's insurance.

Real Estate Mailbag-
Robert J. Bruss-Real Estate attorney

Tenant's story a good argument for insurance

Q. I rent an apartment in a large complex. About six months ago, I accidentally let my dinner cooking on the stove get overheated. It caused a fire that resulted in about $15,000 in damage to my apartment. Fortunately, nobody was injured. The landlord's insurance company paid to have my apartment restored. Now the insurer is suing me for the $15,000. I don't have renter's insurance. Do I have to pay?

A. It sounds like you were negligent in allowing your dinner to overheat, causing a fire, which resulted in the $15,000 in damage.

The landlord could have sued you for negligence damages. Instead, the insurer paid the $15,.000 repair costs. By doing so, the insurer became subrogated to the landlord's right to sue you for damages caused by your negligence.

Your situation is a classic example of why apartment tenants always need a renter's insurance policy. If you had such insurance, your insurer would have paid this claim. Renter's insurance pays for loss because of fire, theft and other accidental losses.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2007 at 1:47PM
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Geeze if we were responsible for your fridge contents where would it end???Think about it thats rediculous.Youre responsible for your place.Is it ok for landlord to come in check your fridge while youre away?Not...Would he want to no...

    Bookmark   May 30, 2007 at 1:09PM
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I replace or repair most appliances in my rental properties within five working days. If a tenant wants me to insure the contents of the refrigerator within reason (price capped), I'd gladly raise the rent enough to cover my added liability.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2007 at 11:58AM
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Get a free renters policy. If your auto insurance company offers a 10% auto/renters discount, you might save $200 per year on the auto insurance while spending $150 per year on renters insurance. You come out ahead $50 and with a free renters policy. That $50 can probably pay for your health and dental insurance for the month.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2007 at 1:25PM
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