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Is the Landlord responsible for smoke damage from a fire to the Tenant's furniture?

There was a fire in a building where I own a condo. I rent out the condo. Early this morning my Tenant told me about the fire on 3rd floor. My condo is on the 4th floor. Black smoke filled the common area and my tenant reports that his white leather sofa turned black from the smoke. My question is, am I responsible for the clean up for his damages? Tenant doesn't have renters insurance.
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March 02 2011 - McGinley Square
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Profile picture for jaindesi
Thanks everyone for your input.
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March 04 2011
Profile picture for wetdawgs
A landlord is rarely held liable for a renter's personal possessions unless the damage is due to fault of the landlord.   

Next time you lease a place, make sure you make liability clear in the lease and request the tenant have renter's insurance.
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March 03 2011
Check with the tenants and your insurance policy.
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March 03 2011
Just to add an additional thought. 

The tenant would have to place a claim with the insurance of the 3rd floor tenant/owner, covering the damages of the initial fire.  The 4th floor owner would only be responsible to repairs and/or replacements of carpets, painting, cleaning associated with returning the condo back to the pre-fire conditions, as it was when the tenant agreed to rent.  This is paid for out of pocket of the owner or his insurance policy.  The hope is, the damages are not more than any of the maximum amounts, in the policies.  Otherwise, the tenant in the 4th floor condo, would then sue the 3rd floor tenant/owner directly, to recover additional costs.

One extra point.  If the rental agreement contradicts, any of the above, then the agreement takes precedence.  Read careful.
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March 02 2011
Short answer is no...your tenant should have renter's insurance to cover THEIR belongings including clothing, computers and furniture.

You should make the HOA aware of the situation and the potential for a claim from the tenant depending on the cause of the fire as determined by the fire marshall.

If the fire was caused by another resident, then THAT resident's insurance may be liable.
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March 02 2011
Profile picture for the_country_hick
I would check with my insurance agent. I suspect the person who had the fire that caused the problem would be liable. However, only an insurance agent can tell you for sure.
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March 02 2011
 
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Is the Landlord responsible for smoke damage from a fire to the Tenant's furniture?
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March 04 2011 | 6 answers
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