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What Are My Responsibilities as a Landlord After a Fire?

Posted on : October 2, 2016, By:  Jeremy R.M. Piper, PLC

A fire is one of the most frightening things that can happen to a property you own. If your property is damaged or completely destroyed by fire, you may be at a loss as to what to do. Here’s what you need to know if your rental property is damaged by or lost to a fire.

1. Get in Touch With the Fire Department

Contact the fire department to discuss the damage done to the property and establish the person who you should talk to as the case progresses. Arrange a walk through with your tenant and the fire department for your tenant to collect their belongings. Neither you nor your tenant should enter the property without approval by the fire department and/or an escort.

2. Be on the Lookout for Information as to Why the Fire Started

While the fire department will be doing their own investigation into how the fire originated, you’ll also want to be listening to your tenant. Often, tenants will make conjecture about how the fire started and if they may be at fault. This is something you’ll want to notate if in the future you need to bring a claim forward against your tenant.

3. Discuss Renter’s Insurance or the American Red Cross with Your Tenant

As a landlord, it’s not your responsibility to provide your tenants with emergency housing after your rental property has been damaged or destroyed by a fire. If they have renter’s insurance, their policy should cover housing. If they don’t, the American Red Cross has provisions for families who have been displaced by a fire.

4. List What Property Was Damaged

Create a comprehensive list of what was damaged in the fire. Include carpeting, walls, doors, cabinets, appliances, bathtubs and showers, and more. Get as detailed a list as possible of what was lost and what the value of them might be. At the same time, you’ll want to collect photos of your property that illustrate how the property looked before the fire damaged it.

5. Contact an Attorney

Navigating the complexities of dealing with a property loss due to a fire can be challenging for a landlord. At Piper Legal, we can help you move through the process of restoring your property or being compensated for the total loss of your property. Call us today at (810) 235-2558.