Broken Window in a Rental Property: Who Has to Pay for Repairs?
You would hope that you never have to deal with the annoyance of a broken window. But accidents happen, and sometimes a window can be the casualty. If your home is rented, then the repair might not be so straightforward.
Sure, the general process is the same no matter whether you own or rent your home. An emergency glass repairs company needs to be contacted in order to have the window repaired immediately, particularly before it gets dark so that your home is secured against the elements or any opportunistic intruders.
But when your home is rented, who arranges the repairs? And perhaps even more importantly—who pays?
Report the Breakage Immediately
When a window breaks, the first thing you need to do is make a phone call. Contact the real estate agency who manages the property, or contact the owner directly if your rental is a private arrangement. Use their emergency after hours contact details if necessary. They might have a preferred glass repair company, and it can be necessary to use this company unless you want to pay for entirety of the repairs out of your own pocket.
As a tenant, you might have private contents insurance, but you will not need to have insurance for the building itself. This is classed as a separate policy, and it offers protection when the building is damaged. You will not necessarily be aware of what this policy covers, but some policies will only provide limited cover in the event of accidental glass breakage. This means you could be obligated to make up any shortfall.
Is There an Excess to Be Paid?
Depending on the nature of the insurance policy, the insurance provider might charge an excess when a claim is made. The building's owner might request that you pay this excess. If the breakage is not your fault, you can dispute this request. If the breakage is your fault, then paying this excess is much less than paying for the entirety of the repairs yourself.
Whether or not you have to pay at all can largely depend on the type of insurance that the property owner holds. If you believe that you have been unfairly charged, you should raise these concerns with the owner or real estate agency. If the matter is not resolved to your satisfaction, contact the Residential Tenancy Authority in your state or territory. The authority will be able to mediate the issue and determine who is in fact liable for the cost of repair.