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Can I sue my tenant for negligence? My homeowners' insurance has been cancelled because of him.

Honolulu, HI |
Filed under: Residential property

In 2012, my tenant who was uninsured, left the water running in my apartment. He caused damage below to two units, the bill was $9000,. Unknown to me he did not have renters' insurance. My company, Farmers, paid the claim. In January of this year, I had a small claim for $1000, which they also paid. However, now they have refused to renew my homeowners' policy, citing the $9000 claim they had to pay.

I feel my tenant was grossly negligent in letting the water run in my unit. Is my property manager also partly to blame, for not requiring him to have renters' insurance? They handled all of the paperwork, interviewing, renting, signing, collecting payments, etc. They didn't tell me he was uninsured.

Please help; I am getting desperate. A homeowners' policy now will be very expensive.

Attorney Answers 1

Posted

Renter's insurance is not required by Hawaii statutes. Renter's insurance typically covers only the renter's belongings and is not a liability policy. I believe that you can require liability insurance and it can be imposed by the landlord by contract as a requirement to lease or rent and would be appropriate to ask that the landlord be named as additional insured. Liability insurance would normally cover negligence. I would talk to an attorney who has handled this type of lawsuit successfully to see what you rights are.

In addition to real estate law in the State of Hawaii, I also practice federal bankruptcy law. If my answers relate to a bankruptcy question, the following statement applies. "As a debt relief agency, we also help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code, including federally supervised repayment plans under Chapter 11, Chapter 12 (farmers and fishers) and Chapter 13." My response to questions does not form an attorney-client relationship and reliance on such a response creates no liability as to the accuracy or completeness of the response.

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