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Old 04-26-2012, 11:58 PM
4 posts, read 18,430 times
Reputation: 11


I moved out of my last place about 8 months ago, and I left the place in almost perfect condition. I was surprised when about a month ago I got a letter from a law firm suing me for $8000 dollars for damages I caused to the house. They are getting me using subrogation. My ex-landlord bypassed me, got an estimate from Liberty Mutual, was given a check from Liberty Mutual, and now LM is suing me for the amount they paid her. I asked for the estimate and the law firm sent it to me (without pictures), and almost all the items can be considered normal wear and tare (things a renter shouldn't have to pay for), and the other damages listed on the estimate were repair of plumbing and mold testing in an illegal bathroom in the basement (no permits for plunbing, electrical, ANYTHING!). Am I required to pay for damages to an illegal unit, and how do they know I caused the mold damage and not the uninspected illegal water pipes? Does most homeowners insurance usually insure illegal additions to rental properties? Any advise on tenant's rights and subrogation or the illegal bathroom issue would help me greatly. Thank you.
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Old 04-27-2012, 01:14 AM
16,438 posts, read 17,960,170 times
Reputation: 9457
You need a lawyer.
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Old 04-27-2012, 04:54 AM
8,114 posts, read 16,523,022 times
Reputation: 10177
Hmmmmm....I'd be curious to see exactly what the insurance company paid $8k for...can you please share that list with us?
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Old 04-27-2012, 05:18 AM
Location: Phoenix, AZ > Raleigh, NC
13,684 posts, read 16,279,692 times
Reputation: 20924
You need a lawyer.
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Old 04-27-2012, 06:12 AM
1,730 posts, read 2,927,214 times
Reputation: 1190
And, besides the list of what the $8K covered, what sort of notices did the landlord provide to you about there being a problem with the condition of the house? Did you have a security deposit, and was it returned in full by the landlord upon your leaving?
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Old 04-27-2012, 07:44 AM
912 posts, read 3,809,129 times
Reputation: 1998
You need to lawyer up... like... yesterday.

Also, can you post up more details on what they are claiming?
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Old 04-27-2012, 04:39 PM
24,873 posts, read 47,506,187 times
Reputation: 17880
At this point it would seem the process has started... anything said here is inconsequential and the only thing that matters is the opinion of the Court.

Years ago, I had a tenant frying fish during a Superbowl party... he left the kitchen to watch the game for a moment and the grease caught fire and did about $7000 in damage.

I made my one and only claim to my insurance... they sent out an adjuster early the next morning and cut me a check for about $4000 to get started.

The repairs were completed and I submitted my invoices to receive the balance...

About a week later I received a notice of non-renewal... my policy was up and about two weeks later my tenant calls and is being sued by my former company...

The tenant's wife worked for law firm and her boss said there was not much they could do... his opinion.

Anyway, they worked out a payment plan and were paying the company till he lost his job...

All the while they said it was an accident and the company said it was negligence...
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Old 04-27-2012, 06:04 PM
Location: Austin, TX
16,648 posts, read 37,870,310 times
Reputation: 8984
Did you have renter's insurance? It often includes some liability coverage that could assist you in paying for damages if you were at fault.
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Old 04-27-2012, 07:29 PM
2,401 posts, read 3,679,302 times
Reputation: 2169
Why nowadays... it is very important to have a video / pics of that empty apartment in pristine condition when you move out so you can actually prove in court that LL committed a fraud against the insurance company.
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Old 04-28-2012, 05:38 PM
4 posts, read 18,430 times
Reputation: 11
First of all thank you to everyone for their input, any little bit helps...

Here is some more info...
1) Yes, we put down a $2500 deposit which was not returned upon us moving out. I figured it was for a door that had a broken lock and a burn from the fireplace that was on the wood floor in the bathroom.
2) About one month after moving out (but after the LM estimates accordin to the dates) Landlord sent me a letter:

"I am writing to inform you that the damages done to XXX XXXXX, San Francisco, CA exceeds the $2500 security deposit that you gave me prior to your moving in. I am in the process of gathering estimates that show the damages exceed $7500. As of today I have already spent $776 of my own money on paint and cleaning supplies to restore the property to the condition in which you moved in. If you have quiestions regarding this letter please fell free to contact me, and when I have compeleted all the estimates I will send you a total to either this address.."

But she never sent me another letter. I find it strange that she didn't mention her already going through her insurance co in this letter since the date on the estimates LM sent me were 3 weeks before the date on my LLd's letter.

3) Liberty Mutual never sent me a letter asking for reimbursement, the first time I was told about the situation was from Wilber Lane Law Firm (representing L.M)
4) The law firm recently told me, as I have been keeping in constant contact with them, that I should send them the photos I took of the house when I left (I took hundreds, thank Goodness!), show how those photos might contradict the estimate, and then come up with my own total of what I believe I owe. Then they would see if that was a reasonable settlement and decide whether to accept or not.
5) When I asked for the pics that went along with the estimate they said they wouldn't send them to me. Said they wern't required to... They did send me the estimate, though.
6) I noticed that someone mentioned that they had to show their insurance co the invoices of the repairs when they had a tenant accidently ruin a part of their house. I find that interesting because when I asked for proof of work done to my old place, Wilber Lane Law Firm said that she was not required to actually have the place repaired. The woman on the phone at Wilber Lane Law compared it to a car accident claim where the owner of a wrecked car isn't required to get the car repaired just because they get issued a check. So I have to pay for work that might not be completed?
7) Many of the damages mentioned in the estimate were mold and structure related (ie: replaced plumbing in the bathroom, tested water heather for mold in lower bathroom) and were repair of items located in the basement bathroom, which I know for a fact, was built without permits (illegal bathroom). Why would an insurance co insure plumbing to an illegal bathroom? Is it possible they didn't know it was illegal, and if they didn't know am I still resposible to pay for claimed damages to it?
8) We have not gone to court yet and I really want to avoid it because if we loose we could end up paying for lawyer fees, etc., and my LL is a cop so even if she is lying (which she is) chances are the judge is going to believe her anyway. My pics are good but I couldn't take pics that would dispute mold testing. I would be taking a pretty big chance going to court.

I know I need to see a lawyer, but like I said my funds are very, very limited because I recently got laid off and had to cover some of my mother's medical bills. So, again, thank you for your help and every litte bit is appreciated.
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