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Thomas Swartz
Thomas Swartz, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 3001
Experience:  Twenty one years experience as a lawyer in New York and New Jersey. Former Appellate Law Clerk.
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I have short term tenants in my furnished home. They have

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I have short term tenants in my furnished home. They have done loads of laundry and last week the drain pipe came out of the drain causing a flood on the carpet. I know it didn't jump out by itself so someone must have pushed something against it to cause it to happen. Am I entitled to charge them for the work done to dry the carpet and the follow up to remove the padding? thanks

Yes. Tenants can be held responsible for the damages they cause through their own negligence. A written lease typically has a provision which makes tenants responsible for the damages they cause. I take it that since this is a short term rental situation, you may be not have a written lease. Nevertheless, it would be a common law principle that they are responsible for the damages they cause. If the tenants contest that they are responsible, it may be a little difficult to prove that they caused the drain pipe to come out, but if you can show that the drain pipe was secure prior to their taking possession, it would be a natural inference that they negligently caused the pipe to come out, and thus cause the damage.

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I did have a lease. It says they are responsible for damage caused by them through misuse or neglect. Since they had done upmteen loads of laundry before this happened, they can't say it was like that when they arrived.

This was the 4th "emergency" over the 3 month lease, but the others are not as clear cut for their responsibility (e.g. microwave breaking, kitchen cabinet doors coming off) - this is a $500k house and is in tip top shape - not a slum! thanks

Since you have a written lease providing they are responsible for damage caused by misuse or neglect, you certainly have the right to charge them. And doing many, many, many loads of laundry would certainly qualify as a misuse. So, I would go ahead and charge them, making sure you send copies of the bills of the work you had to have done.


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