How will small claims court possibly rule Tenant had an oven fire at my rental…

How will small claims court possibly rule
Tenant had an oven fire at my rental that was brought to my attention during a move out inspection.The fire department had to knock down the front since no one was home at time time of the fire. The tenant said the fire department told him over the phone that landlord was responsible.I contacted the fire department and requested a report on the incident. The fire chief called me and said the the report would state that they responded to a 911 call and when they arrived there was smoke coming out of the condo, and thet knocked down the door to gain entry and discovered an oven fire.The chief said the dept. would not take any sides in the matter and would list the fire as”undetermined.”The door and door frame were busted yet the tenant paid someone to patch and screw the door and frame back together. The door and frame clearly need to be replaced from the tenants security deposit. if the tent tries to recover in small claims court, what are the possible outcomes? And to add to this story
The tentant violated has lease agreement for drug activity.He lived in the unit for approx. 1 year. When he moved in the unit was completely renovated.He was a smoker. I had to repaint to removed smell. Do I have the legal right to remove smell.

One thought on “How will small claims court possibly rule Tenant had an oven fire at my rental…

  1. Re: How will small claims court possibly rule
    Unless the oven fire was caused by a malfunction of the oven, then the fire was the tenant’s fault (the tenant had to have left something on the stove or in the oven which caused the fire). If the tenant is at fault, the tenant is responsible 100% for repairs and damage caused thereby. If the front door was not properly repaired, then you have the right to repair it correctly. Make sure your repair person can provide you with specific information about why and how the tenant’s repairs was deficient. Make sure you have receipts for everything, pictures and as much detail to back up why you are withholding as possible. Removing smell is also a permissible deduction from the deposit, assuming the oven fire was the tenant’s fault. Have someone other than you inspect the apartment to verify that the smell is not acceptable – a property manager (if you have one) is a good start.

    Finally, I wouldn’t even bring up the drug activity – its totally irrelevant. If it was an issue, you should have evicted the tenant for the illegal activity when it happened. As for how a Small Claims Court will rule – nobody here can give you a guarantee, nor even odds of your winning, as Small Claims Court is a kangaroo court – its entirely unpredictible because its a court of equity where the strict letter of the law isn’t always observed. Good luck.

    *Due to the limitations of the LawGuru Forums, The Gibbs Law Firm, APC’s (the “Firm”) participation in responding to questions posted herein does not constitute legal advice, nor legal representation of the person or entity posting a question. No Attorney/Client relationship is or shall be construed to be created hereby. The information provided is general and requires that the poster obtain specific legal advice from an attorney. The poster shall not rely upon the information provided herein as legal advice nor as the basis for making any decisions of legal consequence.

    David Gibbs
    The Gibbs Law Firm, APC
    110 E Avenida Palizada, Ste 201
    San Clemente, CA 92672-3956

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