“A year ago, the rental apartment I live in burned down due to a fire. The fire wrecked the living room and the kitchen. Homeowner’s insurance fixed it and paid for the damage. As a tenant, I have just received a letter from the insurance company claiming the costs. They are threatening to take me to court since they say that I had some responsibility in the fire. What should I do?
Response from your broker
According to the Spanish Civil Code, you, as a lessee (tenant), are responsible for the deterioration or loss that the rented house experienced, unless you prove that it was caused without fault. Depending on the scope of the damage, it may be thousands of euros that you will have to pay, or oppose legally. Opposing them will include unforeseen expenses, including lawyer fees and often solicitor fees, in order to defend yourself.
Where does the line start, from which the tenant’s responsibility begins so that the tenant is required to pay said damages?
When you sign a rental contract, you acquire a series of obligations that range from paying the rent to assuming the damages caused in the home. Therefore, if you do not have civil liability insurance as a tenant, you will have to handle the situation with your own funds. That is why it is absolutely appropriate that you hire such insurance so that all these risks and your defence are covered and the insurer is the one who assumes them in your place.
On the other hand, as a tenant, whenever you see a dangerous situation that can lead to a greater problem, such as, for example, deterioration of electrical facilities, notify the homeowner in writing so that you can demonstrate that your action has been proper, that you have warned of the possible danger and that your responsibility is thereby eliminated. A photograph or a small video that you send in an email notifying it is, on many occasions, the best way to show that you have no responsibility.