Learn Who is Responsible After An Apartment Fire
The now-famous in Fort worth reminds us how important it is to keep a close eye on fire safety this summer. If you are an apartment resident, you might be wondering who is responsible for the damages in the unfortunate event of an apartment fire. The huge number of grass fires sparked by our drought conditions might have you fearful that a neighbor’s misplaced cigarette butt or grill embers might spark a flame that takes out your entire building! If an apartment fire happens in your apartment community, here are things you should know about who is responsible for covering what.
What is the landlord responsible for?
When a fire occurs your first thought might be well my landlord is responsible no matter the cause of the fire, but this isn’t exactly the case. Additionally, the landlord’s insurance is only going to cover the building and surrounding premises but not the contents inside the apartment. However in some cases, the landlord may be responsible for all damages, including to your personal property, and those are outlined below.
Situations where the landlord is responsible due to negligence:
- The landlord failed to meet applicable fire code standards.
- The landlord had failed to provide or maintain smoke detectors (which are required by law) caused a delay in the discovery of the fire
- The landlord stored hazardous material in or around the building that caused or accelerated the fire.
- The landlord blocked or allowed a blockage of passageways or emergency exits.
Should you find yourself in one of the above-noted situations then your landlord may be responsible for all the damages caused by a fire in your apartment building. The next step is to contact your renter’s insurance company to have a thorough investigation completed to determine the cause of the fire and find out if the landlord is responsible due to negligence. If the investigation determines that the landlord is responsible then their insurance would cover the cost of the damages due to a fire.
What is the resident responsible for?
As a resident, you might be wondering what you will be responsible for in the unfortunate event of an apartment fire. Although the answer depends based on what was damaged and how the fire started will be a determining factor. Also, making sure you have the right coverage within your insurance plan will be a big factor in this as well. If for example the fire is ruled as your fault due to smoking inside or leaving a hair straightener on, you will be the one held liable.
If it was due to a faulty outlet or worn down apartment appliance, the renter usually isn’t at fault in those instances and the landlord would be the one responsible. If you still aren’t sure who might be held liable in your situation, the best bet will be to contact your insurance provider and discuss the details of your coverage with them.
Maintain Renter’s Insurance
The best safety net for any resident is to ensure that you maintain your renter’s insurance after you purchase it – if you don’t purchase an annual plan, make sure that your monthly plan is up to date and never lapses.
When you have renter’s insurance and an apartment fire causes you to be displaced and/or damages and destroys your belongings, renter’s insurance is what gives you the ability to provide the ability to stay elsewhere and reimburse you and your family for the lost belongings. Living in Texas and the high risk of fires this summer is a great reminder to make sure that your policy has a loss-of-use provision for fire damage.
Ultimately, determining liability for an apartment fire requires each party to understand the cause that initially started the fire. In Texas, it is therefore of most importance to uphold legal options for these unexpected cases of accidents and obtain renters’ insurance for all parties signing the lease.
If your apartment complex experiences fire damage and/or needs emergency services for fire restoration, call Classic Construction for a quick assessment of the building and to begin working on the property and restore it to its original condition safely and quickly just as we have with