Can I sue tenant for burning my rental property down? It's sitting empty; difficult to find a new tenant.

Last year, my rental property (single family home) burned down. The past year has been spent dealing with insurance, contractors, etc.... and now trying to rent out the place in winter... a difficult time to try to rent out property). I live hours away so driving to the property is an inconvenience. I was told throughout the entire process that the fire was likely caused by a faulty refrigerator of the tenants' in the garage. I have only just found out through a subrogation attorney that the fire was not caused by the refrigerator; it was likely a cigarette! Since I'd been told it was a faulty refrigerator, I returned tenant's deposit long ago. Now that we know it wasn't the fridge, I'm really upset! Here I was truly caring about the tenants and they caused the fire!!!! Can I sue?

Sacramento, CA -

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Attorney Answers (2)

Michael Ryan Juarez

Michael Ryan Juarez

Landlord / Tenant Lawyer - San Diego, CA

I recommend getting a local attorney to review your evidence and provide an evaluation on the likelihood of winning before filling suit. You can always sue.

-Michael R. Juarez Law Office of Juarez and Schaeffer PO Box 16216 San Diego, CA 92105 (619) 804-4327 www.jslaw.... more
Edna Carroll Straus

Edna Carroll Straus

Family Law Attorney - San Juan Capistrano, CA

Your property was insured, so that damage has been taken care of. The rest is very unlikely to be recoverable as it is simply the fact that you live where you do-YOUR choice-- and timing, or maybe you are not marketing the property well.

Yes you CAN sue-- but it will not prove much balm, in reality. Better tenants are your best remedy.

Good luck.

Ms. Straus (aka Carroll) may be reached at 800-400-8978 during regular business hours, Pacific Time, or anytime by... more

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Landlord-tenant law

Landlord-tenant law is governed mostly by state laws, and covers issues like security deposit limits and deadlines, evictions, and the right to withhold rent.

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