Is The Individual Renting The Home Responsible For Water Damage?
We get a lot of emails every week from people wanting legal advice about random things. The responses given in these write-ups are not to be taken as legal advice, they are general responses that should be used as guidelines to help you figure out a direction to take when resolving any issues you may have. If you are in need of legal advice, we recommend you contact a lawyer in your city to provide you with legal council.
This past week I received an email from a tenant in Toronto that asked if they were legally responsible for the water damage caused by a plumbing leak. My initial response is no, that is the responsibility of the homeowner and not the individual renting the property. If there were legal documents drawn up and signed by both parties that indicated it was the responsibility of the tenant to monitor and manage all aspects of the property, with a specific clause stating that the tenant is also responsible for damages caused by water, then there may be a legal angle that the homeowners has on the tenant to collect if there was water damage.
The other thing to consider here is that most homeowners insurance policies cover accidental damages like these that are the result of busted water pipes, clogged plumbing, and broken water heaters. If there were no legally binding contracts in place to hold the tenant accountable, and the property was damaged as the result of careless behavior, and the homeowner can prove this then there may be an opportunity to take it to court. Having an expert witness to take the stand on behalf of either party would be ideal, something like a construction defect expert or a plumber in Toronto that specializes in clogged drains, busted pipes, and general plumbing would give either side an advantage in the courtroom.
If the plumber could prove in court that the pipes were corroded, installed incorrectly, or malfunctioned, that could be the expert witness testimony needed for the tenant to win the court case. On the other hand, if the plumber was able to prove that the plumbing was properly installed and maintained, and that the water damage was the result of flushing garbage down the toilet, or someone damaging the plumbing, then the homeowner could also win this court case.
Our advice to any one renting a property from Toronto to Texas, get a contract in place and make sure all of your basis are covered. A signed contract is one sure way to avoid any unnecessary time spent in the court room and can end up saving you thousands of dollars in the long run.