Landlord/tenant - who's liable?? Help!
I started renting a condo from a property investment company on July 1st this year. A couple of days ago, while in the shower I heard a crack as I took a step. There was a visible crack, and like a good tenant would, I reported this to my landlord immediately. They got back to me stating that I would have to pay for a brand new bathtub, as this is my fault, as this crack was never found in any previous inspections. They repeatedly are telling me that "this will not be cheap" and are telling me to start a case with my condo insurance provider.
Is this right? I moved in just 1 month ago. How is it that a bathtub can just crack from stepping on it?? (let me add that I am average size - 120lbs). Am I really 100% liable for this, and will my insurance cover it?
Thanks for any responses.
Unbelievably, this actually happened in my condo too! I posted about it two years ago:
There are some good tips posted by others in that thread.
I was the landlord in my story. The cost for this ended up coming out of my pocket. I remember being pretty disappointed that my insurance didn't cover this; they would have only covered the cost of the water damage to the units below mine, but that was just a small percentage of the overall cost, and my premiums would have gone up if a claim was actually filed, so I didn't bother claiming this.
I didn't go after my tenants because I honestly did not believe that they explicitly did anything to cause the sitaution. The tenants were greatly inconvenienced during the time it took to do the repairs (they ended up going downstairs and showering in the pool area every day) and tried to get a "refund" of the rent back from me. I did not give them this. This was just an unfortunate incident. They notified me of a problem with the unit, and I had it fixed as quickly as I could.
In my opinion, you should not have to pay for this situation. Of course, you are dealing with a property investment company, and not directly with a private landlord like I am, so they may put up a stronger fight than I did.
Best of luck!
Last edited by explorer416; 2012-08-03 at 04:50 PM.
Reason: fixed url
You the tenant are not responsible for the damage so long as it wasn't caused by some form of neglegence that they can prove (and it's their job to prove this).
An example; if you damage it with an improper cleaner you'll be buying a tub. If it breaks from normal usage they would be buying a tub.
An important thing to keep in mind, dispite your dispute with the landloard, keep paying rent on time.
Last edited by sharbit; 2012-08-04 at 12:18 AM.
Generally baths are not something that break due to regular use. That's why the company would like you to pay to replace it. On the other hand it's not really something people abuse either.
Short of taking a hammer to the side of it or scratching it up with cleanser, baths are pretty trouble free.
My advise to you is the find the person with the power to say yes. The person informing you that you have to pay is not that person...
Also, if the tub is cracked in the bottom, it is probably from inadequate support when it was installed. Depending on where you live, you may have to go to a government agency. This will just give you leverage over the landlord.
Unless they can prove that the damage was caused by something other than normal wear and tear, then it's their responsibility. If you used the tub for anything other than a normal person would use it, then it's not "your fault" and therefore not your responsibility to pay for it.
The company is operating on the premise that a cracked tub MUST have been the result of using the tub for something it was not designed to withstand.
The likely cause, in my opinion, is an improper installation. If it's a new tub (under 2-3 years old), then it very likely failed because it wasn't put in right or the tub itself was defective.
Unless, of course, you're not telling the whole story
Thanks for all the replies..
I've spoken to a couple different people in the company. At first they were saying that because the crack was not there when I move in, it is my responsibility to pay for it. The last person I spoke to hinted that we may be able to split the cost, which still isn't satisfactory for me.
There's a repair man coming in today so hopefully he can tell me the cause of the crack...
I'm extremely frustrated that I'm expected to cover these costs.. Any further advice about what to say to my landlord would be greatly appreciated.
The property management company sounds kind of scummy. Unless you broke the tub from some sort of abuse, it's definitely not your responsibility to repair or replace it, and they know that. They're hoping you're naive enough to not know that, so that they can use your insurance and not theirs to pay for it. Just dig in and refuse to pay, it's not your responsibility and tell them that.
Go to your community legal clinic - they will help. Trying to get you to pay if it's not your fault is harassment.
How old is the unit?
How old is the building? If the building is new, the damage could be covered under Tarion, which would make it the builders responsibility to repair.