A Burglar Breaks Your Door: Who Pays for the Door?

by Isaac Benmergui, Esq on November 6, 2013

This is such a tough question, because it’s so difficult to answer. The law can help, though, to some degree, to at least come to some kind of compromise over the issue, because as we all know, that burglar shouldn’t have tried to break in your house, and you, either landlord or tenant, shouldn’t be responsible for the damage to the home or apartment. Something has to be done about the damage, though. So who pays?

Oftentimes, both pay. There are specific questions to ask, though: what does the lease say? That’s burglarfundamental, because it can easily say that the tenant is completely responsible for any damages to the dwelling, regardless of why the damage occurred. That would include burglaries and break-ins.

Furthermore, knowing the landlord’s insurance policy could also shed some light on the subject. Sometimes a landlord’s insurance may have that kind of coverage. Not all policies are alike, though, so it’s important to know about it – no matter if you’re a tenant or landlord. The tenant, also, can be largely responsible due to actions not taken to prevent the possible burglary. Case in point: maybe the tenant forgot to lock the door, or even notify the landlord. Oftentimes, failure to provide a copy of the police report is enough justification to plant on your kitchen table an order to pay for damages of the building.

It’s all about accountability. And in this battlefield of tenants, landlords, brokers and agents, we’re all accountable. Negligence is a factor. So this may be the best advice of all: keep your eyes open and don’t make mistakes. It’s the best possible way to minimize costs for damages to a building (even if a burglar caused it).

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