Explanation: Unless the fire was caused by faulty electrical wiring, gas hook ups or a faulty oven provided by the landlord you will be responsible for any shortfall between the amount of damages and the amount of insurance proceeds. This would be under the theory of your or your household member's negligence. Therefore, it is entirely proper for the landlord to look to the tenant for all monies not recovered from insurance (ie. deductibles, short payments, etc.). Depending on the amount claimed and your personal financial situation, you may need to seek the assistance of a bankruptcy attorney. If you require additional information or have additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact my Firm.
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I agree with Mr. Jones. I had a case like this set of facts. The lease or rental agreement will specify that damage caused by tenant will be the responsibility of the tenant. There are a few recalls on ovens and stoves that may be helpful so knowing the make, model, and year of manufacture may give you a defense .
But if the tenant was present and failed to extinguish the flames and the fire investigators from the Fire Marshall and insurance companies can't find a defect then you will be held responsible.
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I agree with the other responses that your potential liability largely depends upon the cause of the fire. What nobody else has said - and what in my opinion you need to know - is that to the extent you are liable to the landlord and/or the fire was caused by your negligence, you may also be liable to reimburse the insurance company. To the extent you are liable at all, you are likely to be liable for 100% of the damages, not just the landlord's excess costs. Do not be surprised if the insurance company demands that you repay them and/or sues you for repayment in addition to the landlord's demands. You should review the entire matter with a local attorney BEFORE paying anyone anything related to this matter.
Nothing contained herein should be considered as legal advice for any specific situation and nothing herein is intended to create a lawyer-client relationship. Every case is very "fact-specific" and persons wishing legal advice on a specific matter should contact me or another attorney for an appointment to review their particular circumstances and to create a lawyer-client relationship. Gregory L. Abbott, Attorney at Law, 6635 North Baltimore, Suite 254, Portland, Oregon 97203. Tel: 503-283-4568; Fax: 503-283-4586; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Specializing in Consumer and Small Business Law.