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    Tenant injured in rental house fire, who is liable?

    I am questioning whether my landlord should be held liable for a fire in the house we rent. We have lived here for about 8 - 9 months and on Apr 10th my husband was having his coffee and heard a sound in the closet where the gas hot water tank is located. He went to the closet (very small area) and opened the door a few inches and an aerosol can exploded on him. He has 1st, 2nd, and 3rd degree burns. The landlord removed the aerosol can, the hot water tank and other things from the house before the homeowners insurance came to take pics/investigate. We know that neither of us put the can there and wonder how this will end up working out. My husband has been out of work for 5 weeks and has scaring that will be on him for the rest of his life. The landlord says he had the closet cleaned before we moved in. I cleaned the house before we moved furniture in (it was a pigsty), Ifound cat feces and a ton of dirt/cobwebs and trash in the house. I did not clean the closet, I had no reason to go into such a small area. We never used it for anything. Today we received a letter from our landlord asking us to vacate the house based on the events that took place on April 10th. Is this legal that he can evict us for something that we had no control over? We are not suing him or his insurance and have not "bargained" with the insurance company for any kind of payment. Is it legal that he evict us under these circumstances and who should be held liable for the fire?


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    Re: Tenant injured in rental house fire, who is liable?

    First, if you had continuous access to the closet for the hot water tank then I might think you would be hard pressed to say that your landlord or one of his employees was at fault here. It is in your control and for you to prove that the landlord or his agent/workers left the can.

    Second, I don't know what the letter of eviction states. Is it a request? I don't know of any legal right to evict you and I'm not sure that the letter requesting you move is a demand or hope.

    I'm thinking that responsibility here might be difficult to prove. How do you know that an aeresol can exploded and if so, what was it? If it was hair spray then the scrutiny may well turn to you and your family. Why would the can explode just by opening the door. Are we getting the whole picture?

    Originally posted by JulieP31
    I am questioning whether my landlord should be held liable for a fire in the house we rent. We have lived here for about 8 - 9 months and on Apr 10th my husband was having his coffee and heard a sound in the closet where the gas hot water tank is located. He went to the closet (very small area) and opened the door a few inches and an aerosol can exploded on him. He has 1st, 2nd, and 3rd degree burns. The landlord removed the aerosol can, the hot water tank and other things from the house before the homeowners insurance came to take pics/investigate. We know that neither of us put the can there and wonder how this will end up working out. My husband has been out of work for 5 weeks and has scaring that will be on him for the rest of his life. The landlord says he had the closet cleaned before we moved in. I cleaned the house before we moved furniture in (it was a pigsty), Ifound cat feces and a ton of dirt/cobwebs and trash in the house. I did not clean the closet, I had no reason to go into such a small area. We never used it for anything. Today we received a letter from our landlord asking us to vacate the house based on the events that took place on April 10th. Is this legal that he can evict us for something that we had no control over? We are not suing him or his insurance and have not "bargained" with the insurance company for any kind of payment. Is it legal that he evict us under these circumstances and who should be held liable for the fire?

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    Re: Tenant injured in rental house fire, who is liable?

    I know there are a lot of questions regarding who left the aerosol can in the closet. Neither my husband nor I left it. It was red spray paint. The closet is about a 24 inch by 20 inch space for a hot water heater and our refrigerator sits about 7 or 8 inches from the door so we never used the closet. It was too much of a hassle to try to move the fridge to open the door, plus the space is so small that there was no room for storage. As for the can, it had to be there when we moved in. The house used to be red and so did the shed outside. We are on a 12 month lease and spoke with an attorney about the landlords request for us to vacate before our lease is over and he is within his legal rights to do so. We have since talked with the landlord and he said if we could get the Captain of the local PD to come to him and say that we did not intentionally try to burn down his house he would rewrite the lease and he wants to reflect in the lease that as of this date there are no hazardous materials stored anywhere in the house (i.e., spray paint cans in the hot water tank closet)....He is an old man and we can't see how he would think we would burn the house (senility maybe?). I was sleeping at the time of the incident and my son was in his bedroom playing with his friend that had slept over the night before! Anyway... The investigation on how the can was punctured is taking place this week. We think the cover was on top of the hot water tank and fell off (that is the noise my husband heard) and punctured the can. I guess we will have to wait and see what the investigations shows.

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    Re: Re: Tenant injured in rental house fire, who is liable?

    Originally posted by JulieP31
    I know there are a lot of questions regarding who left the aerosol can in the closet. Neither my husband nor I left it. It was red spray paint. The closet is about a 24 inch by 20 inch space for a hot water heater and our refrigerator sits about 7 or 8 inches from the door so we never used the closet. It was too much of a hassle to try to move the fridge to open the door, plus the space is so small that there was no room for storage. As for the can, it had to be there when we moved in. The house used to be red and so did the shed outside. We are on a 12 month lease and spoke with an attorney about the landlords request for us to vacate before our lease is over and he is within his legal rights to do so. We have since talked with the landlord and he said if we could get the Captain of the local PD to come to him and say that we did not intentionally try to burn down his house he would rewrite the lease and he wants to reflect in the lease that as of this date there are no hazardous materials stored anywhere in the house (i.e., spray paint cans in the hot water tank closet)....He is an old man and we can't see how he would think we would burn the house (senility maybe?). I was sleeping at the time of the incident and my son was in his bedroom playing with his friend that had slept over the night before! Anyway... The investigation on how the can was punctured is taking place this week. We think the cover was on top of the hot water tank and fell off (that is the noise my husband heard) and punctured the can. I guess we will have to wait and see what the investigations shows.
    It appears that way. On your side is the fact that it was a can of red spray paint which may seem to be the result of workmen but I wonder if spray paint was used to paint a shed. You may want to see whether then paint is the same -- buy a can of the same paint and compare. That could help you make your case. Still, I doubt that the house was spray painted... and I just wonder whether they will claim you bought the can to do touch up. This id difficult for you and I'm sorry. I hope things work out.

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