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Vic

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Posts: 3
Reply with quote  #1 
I hope someone here can tell me what I have to look forward to.

I have a rental home.  The people moved out and there was fire damage from a fireplace.  I filed a claim with AllState.  AllState accepted the claim and issued me a check.  They are now going after the renters who, as you can imagine, are not happy.  I don't think they had any kind of insurance, related to the house.

Can they really force the old tenants to pay them back $7000?  To be honest with you, that just doesn't seem right.


Marytmary1978

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Posts: 445
Reply with quote  #2 

If they CAUSED the damage- why does it not seem right to make them liable for it???

Vic

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Posts: 3
Reply with quote  #3 

I don't think they had insurance.   Plus, accidents happen.  Isn't that why we have insurance?  How to you prove they were negligent?  If they weren't negligent, why would they have to pay anything?

OHlandlord

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Posts: 3,809
Reply with quote  #4 
But were they negligent?  You probably can't tell by looking, but an insurance adjustor or fire investigator may be able to look it over and see what caused the fire.  Maybe they burned something improper in that fireplace (paper, green wood, or worse), failed to open the damper, didn't use the fire screen to contain sparks, used an accelerant to start the fire (like gas, lamp oil, lighter fluid), etc.  If they did any of these things - THEY WERE NEGLIGENT.  If they weren't, a court should find that they aren't responsible for the damages.  What doesn't seem right about that?

(Another story)  A few years ago there was a fire in the upstairs unit of one of my duplexes.  At first we thought it was just a tragic accident.  Then the fire marshal and arson investigator came in.  It wasn't arson, but it was negligence.  How did they figure it out when there wasn't even a roof left?  They looked at the fire patterns to see where the fire started, how it spread, etc.  They took us in the burned house and pointed out the patterns in the middle of the living room to show us the fire started on a table and spread by either lamp oil or candle wax.  (You could see the flow patterns of it still in the burn patterns!)  All this despite the burned carpet, furnishings, walls, and no roof.
Vic

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Posts: 3
Reply with quote  #5 
I guess I look at it this way.  If I started a fire in my own home because of my negligence, it would be covered under my insurance.  Why should it be any different from a guest in my home?

I guess I'm being sympathic with the ex-renters.  They have no money to pay the lien. 

Which would bring me to another question.  What if they just don't pay?  Can they be forced to pay?

Plus, what proof is there that they did something negligent?  Doesn't that have to be proven?

 

OHlandlord

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Posts: 3,809
Reply with quote  #6 
These people weren't guests in your home.  They were tenant who paid to use that facility.  Do not associate tenants with friends.  They should not be.  A business like rentals requires a separation, so don't be chummy with them.  You can search old posts to see why you should never rent to friends, family, co-workers, or any combination.  Rarely works out.  And don't become friends with tenants or you won't be "firm but fair".

The insurance investigator, arson investigator, or fire marshal will determine the cause of the fire and if the tenants were responsible.  My guess is that they have something to show they were negligent or the insurance company wouldn't pursue tenants with no money. 

If they have no money to pay for their damages, it will be the same scenario as anyone else that can't pay their bills.  They can attach bank accounts, lien personal property, garnish wages, etc. to pay for any judgment.
Turdburgler

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Posts: 6
Reply with quote  #7 

Insurance companies are changing. The have a whole new team of monkeys hard at work to see if blame can be pinned on someone. If blame cannot be pinned on someone , then they look for reasons that they can avoid paying.

In Ohio, I noticed a check box on my insurance forms showing that's its automaticly checked that I have done "background checks".  As arbitrary as that term might be, I bet we will see it pop back up in the future in the attempt to refuse claims if you didn't dot all your I's.


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