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Who should pay when a burglar breaks a window in your rental property

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Texas Five Star Realty, Plano Texas

Who should pay when a burglar breaks a window in your rental property?

 

From Texas Association of REALTORS (TAR):
An unknown person broke into a rental property I own, shattering a window in the process. The tenant of that property sent me written notice of the broken window. 

The tenant is arguing that because the damage was the result of a criminal act by a third person, the landlord is obligated to pay. I think the tenant has to pay. Who is right?

Under Paragraph 18D(2) of the Texas Association of REALTORS (TAR) Residential Lease, a landlord does not have to pay to repair damage to windows and screens, unless caused by the landlord’s negligence. Therefore, under the lease, the tenant could be found responsible for the cost of repairing the window regardless of the fact that the damage was caused by a person committing a criminal act. If you did not use the TAR lease or if your written lease fails to contain this provision, the broken window could be deemed a condition that materially affects the physical health and safety of an ordinary tenant, in which the landlord could be required to make a diligent effort to repair and ultimately be responsible for payment.

There are many controversy responses about this response from REALTORS community in our area. Many recommend that the landlord repair at his/her cost the window as soon as possible.  Looking out for the health, safety and welfare of the tenant should be a landlord’s responsibility and plus it would help foster better tenant/landlord relations which is always a help.  The Tenant will already feel violated by the break in. Where as a few suggest as a good business practice to repair the broken window to protect the property and possibly to protect life, then bill the tenant for the expense.  If the tenant fails to pay for the repair the cost can be taken from the rent proceeds and the tenant would then be the arrears with rent.  The tenant now owes late fees and is otherwise in default of the lease and “may” be evicted.

Make sure you know the ins and outs of property-management contracts.

Please Comment: What do you think should happen .......

 

and vote.

Should_Landlord_Pay_for_Windows_Broken_by_Burglar? Yes or NO
Contact us about your Real Estate Questions
Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe

insurance. Tenants need to get their own personal property insurance.

Jan 10, 2016 02:23 PM
Bahman Davani, CM at Texas Five Star Realty, Plano, TX (214) 457-7055
Texas Five Star Realty, Plano Texas - Frisco, TX
Homes for Sale in Plano, Frisco, Prosper, Allen TX

Windows are not considered personal property. Also, insurance typically pays covered expenses after deductible, which in this case none of landlord nor tenat gets any money back.

Jan 10, 2016 02:29 PM
Jeff Pearl
Samson Properties / LIC in VA - Lovettsville, VA
Full Service Full Time Realtor

The burglar should pay.  But if I was the owner, I would pay to have the window replaced asap, and I would never even think of charging the tenant, or asking the tenant to pay for it.

Jan 10, 2016 06:45 PM
Kelly Welton
Members Direct Home Loans # 1143904 - Plano, TX
Straight Forward Answers & Advice You Can Count On

While the debate may go on I would think the landlord should take care of this immediately. The tenant had no responsibility in breaking the window and unless otherwise noted its a cost of doing business, write off. 

Jan 11, 2016 08:02 AM