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Old 05-05-2011, 06:31 PM
 
Location: DFW
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Has anyone ever had their security deposit deducted for repairs arising from earthquake damage?
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Old 05-05-2011, 06:43 PM
 
Location: St Thomas, US Virgin Islands
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Never had damage from earthquakes but certainly plenty from hurricanes and, no, any deduction from a renter's security deposit would not be legal as those sort of damages fall under "Act of God".
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Old 05-05-2011, 08:44 PM
 
Location: Seaford, Delaware
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A tenant would not be liable for damage from an earthquake or hurricaine or any act of god. You didn;t do it, God did. Send the bill to God, return the security deoposit.
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Old 05-26-2011, 10:44 PM
 
Location: DFW
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Let's say somewhere inserted in your lease is a statement (in small fine print) along the lines of "tenant is responsible for all damages arising from natural disasters such as earthquakes." The next big one (7.5 mag) earthquake hits and destroys the house, and the landlord takes you to court over this. Will it be enforceable in a court of law or is it simply against the law to hold tenants responsible for damage due to natural disaster under any circumstance?
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Old 05-26-2011, 11:07 PM
 
Location: Downtown Harrisburg
1,434 posts, read 3,659,173 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ragnarkar View Post
Let's say somewhere inserted in your lease is a statement (in small fine print) along the lines of "tenant is responsible for all damages arising from natural disasters such as earthquakes." The next big one (7.5 mag) earthquake hits and destroys the house, and the landlord takes you to court over this. Will it be enforceable in a court of law or is it simply against the law to hold tenants responsible for damage due to natural disaster under any circumstance?
I'm going to call that one unenforceable with a big asterisk.

First, remember that just because it's in writing and signed by both parties doesn't automatically make a given clause enforceable. Similarly, an unenforceable clause doesn't necessarily invalidate the entire lease.

Second, if the lease was based on some special circumstances, you COULD make this enforceable. For example, the tenant is a master carpenter and architectural engineer who specializes in making buildings earthquake-tolerant. In exchange for modifying the building to be more quake-tolerant, the tenant gets a discount on his lease. The tenant fails to make the modifications, a quake hits, and the building falls apart. In this very specific, very special circumstance, I could see this being enforceable. But this is a far cry from your average landlord/tenant relationship.

Third, if the tenant caused some damage to the property that hindered the building's quake-resistance (perhaps an unauthorized modification to the plumbing), and it can be shown that this modification exaggerated the quake damage, then I could definitely see the tenant being held responsible. But I would think this would occur on a case-by-case basis, and not necessarily as the result of a clause in the lease.

And finally, I'm not going to bother firing up Lexis to dig around on this one. Seems like this is a common-sense, cut-and-dried matter not worthy of that hassle. Naturally, this probably means there's caselaw out there to prove me wrong.

So my thought is "no".
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Old 05-26-2011, 11:08 PM
 
4,919 posts, read 21,447,550 times
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Most state laws prohibit a LL for charging for damages from natural disasters. The other limit tenant responsibility only if the tenant did something to create more damage such as illegally removing a structual wall that cause greater damage because of it being moved. All state laws say that no matter what is in the lease you sign, if that item is not allowed by law, its void.
Oh I see floor9 beat me to it with even more detail/
.
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Old 05-27-2011, 04:27 AM
 
Location: Tampa, FL
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Quote:
Let's say somewhere inserted in your lease is a statement (in small fine print) along the lines of "tenant is responsible for all damages arising from natural disasters such as earthquakes."
Enforceable or not, I would never sign a lease with a such a clause. What do I look like, a one woman insurance company? If that clause is in there, just imagine what other insanity they probably have squirreled away in the contract.
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Old 05-27-2011, 06:20 AM
 
979 posts, read 4,209,448 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ragnarkar View Post
Let's say somewhere inserted in your lease is a statement (in small fine print) along the lines of "tenant is responsible for all damages arising from natural disasters such as earthquakes." The next big one (7.5 mag) earthquake hits and destroys the house, and the landlord takes you to court over this. Will it be enforceable in a court of law or is it simply against the law to hold tenants responsible for damage due to natural disaster under any circumstance?
The lease wouldn't say that. That would be absurd to simply put a clause like that in with no mechanism for fulfilling it. It would say something to the effect that "tenant is responsible for maintaining/carrying insurance on owner's behalf for XY and Z disasters. this would be likely found in a net lease.
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Old 05-27-2011, 07:43 AM
 
Location: Downtown Harrisburg
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Now I'm wondering if OP is a tenant who unwittingly signed that crappy lease, or a landlord seeking free legal advice -- and free insurance -- from an Internet forum.
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Old 05-27-2011, 08:37 AM
 
Location: Boise, ID
8,047 posts, read 26,444,472 times
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We do have in our lease that if there is an act of nature, or act of god, or if something otherwise happens that makes the house uninhabitable (a fire, or something), that it will terminate the lease. As long as the problem was not tenant caused, the tenant would get deposit back as normal, but would be expected to vacate immediately.
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