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cblondee

tenant rights after fire

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I have lived in an apartment complex for 9 years...Recently I had a grease fire that caused extensive damage to the unit..I forgot about the grease and by the time i caught it the cabinets were already on fire...The smoke alarms never went off because,  accorrding to the fire marshal, were hung too low for my cathedral ceilings..I live in Tennessee and also have Section 8..It has been 2 months since the fire..I had to move all of my stuff out so the company they hired could come in and clean..That was 6 weeks ago and nothing has been done to the apartment except removal of carpet and cabinets..I understand it was my negligence..I dont have renters ins..The insurance the complex has, has a $10.000 deductible..I have agreed to pay 200 a month on the damages..They wanted me to start paying before they have even paid any invoices..I have told them i wanted copies of all paid invoices but none yet..I feel like they are intentionally trying to get me to move...My section 8 has put their payment on hold and my portion i havent paid either...I offered to do the painting, as i have already painted the entire apt 2 times in 9 years with paint they provided..Now they are saying i cant do the painting for safety reasons..possibility of falling..???? Could they be partially liable for some of the cost because of the smoke detectors? i was told in the beginning it would take 2 to 3 weeks and now its going on 2 months..Is there a certain amount of time they have to do the repairs and can i do the painting myself..I have told the property manager to have the vendor call me and been told 4 times she would call same day but never has...Just wanting to know my rights and responsibilty..

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1 - As the negligent person who damaged somebody else's property you have no right to be involved in the repairs so having them let you paint is not going to happen. Doesn't matter if they let you paint in the past. That doesn't obligate them to let you paint now.

 

2 - With regard to the smoke detectors I don't think there is anything in the TN landlord tenant statute requiring smoke detectors. You can check out the statute at:

 

http://law.justia.com/codes/tennessee/2015/title-66/chapter-28/

 

Might be a local code but you'll have to look that up for yourself.

 

Regardless of any law, you would have to prove (not just say) that working smoke detectors would have avoided or limited the fire damage. Hard to prove without spending thousands on experts. Worse, the smoke detectors could be a two edged sword. You occupied the place day after day and may have had a duty to check them yourself or have the apartment maintenance people check them periodically.

 

You can, of course, refuse to pay anything toward the damage based on the smoke detectors and see what happens.

 

3 - The TN landlord tenant statute gives you the option of cancellation your lease and moving out if you cannot occupy the apartment because of the fire. See the following section:

 

http://law.justia.com/codes/tennessee/2015/title-66/chapter-28/part-5/section-66-28-503/

 

Since you can't live there and haven't paid rent, you might consider finding another place to live and be done with this one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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