Our family rents out a house in Virginia. The lease requires the tenant to have renter's insurance that "provides public liability, protects his personal property and names the Landlord and managing agent as additional insured." Further it states that "all of Tenant's personal property located or stored at the premises shall be Tenant's sole risk. The Tenant shall indemnify and hold harmless the landlord from any loss or damage to such personal property." After the earthquake last year, the Sewage pipes both in the street and in the house cracked and sewage spilled into the area around a bathroom and the kitchen. We (and the city) very quickly replaced the sewage system and used plastic to protect the area. We also paid for the hotel costs for the tenant and their sister (who was visiting them at the time) for the three days they were not able to use the bathroom and kitchen area. The tenant claims that their personal property was damaged and have asked us to pay for the damage as well as their renter's insurance deductible. Is this reasonable? Do they have grounds for a Warrant of Debt?
State/Country relating to question: Virginia
Working through the property manager, we informed them that they needed to file a claim with their renter's insurance company. They were not satisfied with this answer.
Hello and welcome! My name is XXXXX XXX I will be assisting you. The language in your lease pretty clearly protects you from just such an occurrence as has happened here. The point of requiring the tenant to carry insurance is so that tenant's insurance covers damage to tenant's property. Further, pursuant to the terms of the lease, tenant indemnified you against any issues related to damage to tenant's property. Tenant might be able to argue for you to reimburse in a case of landlord negligence. However, this is clearly an "act of god" and not due to any action or inaction on your part. You also clearly took proper steps to minimize damage and prevent further loss. I would think tenant is responsible for filing its claim and going out-of-pocket for any deductible on tenant's insurance policy. Keep in mind that tenant also personally chose the amount of deductible on its policy, fully aware that at some point a claim might be made and the deductible would have to be covered. As a practical matter, and depending on the amount of the overall dispute, you can attempt to settle by offering some concession. However, it appears that the law is on your side.
They specified landlord negligence in the Warrant of Debt, but they have not told us specifically how we were negligent. Would it be normal for us to request the specifics of that negligence or do we have to request that formally through the court at the Warrant of Debt hearing? It seems that it would help us decide whether to settle or not, right?
With the warrant, you would appear on the return date, deny any of the allegations in the complaint (don't admit to anything!) and then ask the judge to set it for trial.
the plaintiff will then be ordered to file more specific information, which you will have the opportunity to respond to.
This would be the plaintiff's "Bill of Particulars," which will give you better information how to respond with your "Grounds of Defense."
Can I assist you further or did that fully answer your questions?
That fully answered my question. Thank you!
Attorney licensed in multiple jurisdictions.
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