My apartment had a toxic contamination issue. It wasn't my fault or the landlord's (in fact, it happened before he owned the building).

Some of my belongings had to be disposed of. Is he responsible for replacing them?

  • We will need more information, at least your jurisdiction. – jimsug Aug 10 '15 at 14:45
  • What does your lease state? – user662852 Aug 10 '15 at 20:07

It depends on where you live and also the details of your lease agreement. But in most cases, it is the landlord's responsibility to make sure the home you're living in is safe for you to live in (even conditions that existed before he owned the building). So in most cases yes, he would be responsible for replacing them (but again, this depends on where you live and the terms of your lease)

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  • The landlord have recourse against the sellers of the property though if they knew of the condition and didn't inform him prior to the sale. – ColleenV Aug 10 '15 at 20:11
  • @ColleenV Generally not, real estate is one of the few areas of the law where caveat emptor still applies. If the seller had deliberately hidden the contamination then the buyer may have a case but generally not otherwise. Also, various pollution laws may make the polluter responsible for clean-up. – Dale M Aug 11 '15 at 1:14
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    My understanding is that landlords are not responsible for damage to the possessions of tenants. (Hence the market for "renter insurance.") Your last sentence to the contrary is a non-sequitur and could use some substantiation. – feetwet Aug 11 '15 at 2:08
  • @dalem it depends on whether it could be considered a private nuisance, in which case coming to the nuisance is not a valid defence for whoever caused it. – jimsug Aug 11 '15 at 2:16
  • @DaleM If the seller made false statements in the disclosure, there might be some chance for the landlord to recover something, no? It sounds like a material defect under US Law “a problem with the property or any portion of it that would have a significant adverse impact on the value of residential real property or that involves an unreasonable risk to the people on the land.” – ColleenV Aug 11 '15 at 15:06

You do not give the jurisdiction, however, just looking at common law.

What warranties did the landlord give in the lease about the condition of the property? Additionally, what warranties are read into the lease under local real estate or consumer protection laws? A general "fitness for purpose" warranty is virtually a given.

If there are warranties and the property did not meet those then you have a cause of action for breach of contract.

Notwithstanding your contractual position, you likely have a claim under the tort of negligence.

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