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catchabreak2016

Damage from break in and Sec Deposit

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ONe month prior to my moving out of my apartment because of my lease expiring, there was an attempted break in and in the process, the sliding glass door was shattered.  I was not home  and my roommate was out of town when this happened, I discovered this the next morning when I returned and called the police, filed a report but have no idea who or why this happened. I have renters insurance, but since I didn't cause the broken door, it was not covered. The landlord replaced the sliding door but now are deducting $200 from my deposit for that . 

 

I do not know who tried to break in, I do not know why it was my apartment that was chosen. This occurred through no fault of my own. This wasn't covered under my insurance because I didn't do it, and I filed a police report and did everything else within my power to do. Why am I responsible to replace this broken door? Do they have a right to withhold that money from my deposit?

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You did everything in your power except replace the door. If you have a typical lease, you are obligated to return the property to the landlord in as same or better condition, wear and tear excepted, as it was when you received it. Unless the door was broken when you got it, you are stuck.<br /><br />Adjuster Jack may choose to comment, but I find it odd that your renters insurance requires damage to be your fault before it will pay. IF it only costs 200, then maybe your deductable was higher, but that is speculation.

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I have renters insurance, but since I didn't cause the broken door, it was not covered.

 

Did someone at your insurance company tell you this?  Have you reviewed your policy to verify this?  It is far more likely that it was covered but that the deductible exceeded the cost to repair.

 

 

 

Why am I responsible to replace this broken door? Do they have a right to withhold that money from my deposit?

 

The first question above is not relevant.  The second question is the relevant question (assuming you misused "they" to refer to your landlord).  Pursuant to ARS 33-1321(D), a landlord may deduct from a tenant's security deposit for unpaid rent and "all charges as specified in the signed lease agreement, or as provided in this chapter, including the amount of damages which the landlord has suffered by reason of the tenant's noncompliance with section 33-1341."  ARS 33-1341, together with ARS 33-1324 lay out the tenant's and landlord's respective obligations with respect to maintaining the leased premises.  Unfortunately, neither section expressly mentions doors or windows or repairs made necessary by the criminal actions of third parties.  Assuming there's nothing else in the ARS or in the lease that would apply, I would argue that these repairs are the tenant's responsibility because exclusive possession of the premises were turned over by the landlord to the tenant.  Of course, there may be relevant case law.

 

Regardless of the applicable law, the landlord always has the advantage in a situation like this because the landlord gets to decide in the first instance what to deduct.  Then, if the tenant disagrees, it is up to the tenant to determine if the amount at issue is worth suing over.

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This wasn't covered under my insurance because I didn't do it,

 

In a renter's policy the Section I - Property Coverage covers only the tenant's personal property.

 

Section II - Liability would cover the tenant's liability for damage to property or injury to others due to his negligence. However there is the following exclusion for even that:

 

"Property damage" to property rented to, occupied or used by or in the care of an "insured". This exclusion does not apply to "property damage" caused by fire, smoke or explosion.

 

Thus, it's true that this damage to the patio door is not covered by renters insurance.

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Thanks for the clarification, AJ, I take it would not be covered by the Landlord's insurance either?

 

It probably would be but 1 - It's probably less than his deductible and 2 - He has no obligation to make the claim if he can get the money out of your deposit.

 

There's nothing in the AZ landlord tenant statute prohibiting him from holding the tenant responsible for the damage although I would suggest that you carefully read your lease and see if there are any limitations on what he can charge you for.

 

Study the security deposit statute. If he fails to comply with the letter of the statute you may have grounds to recover your deposit:

 

http://www.azleg.state.az.us/FormatDocument.asp?inDoc=/ars/33/01321.htm&Title=33&DocType=ARS

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