I live in Sweden and the last 29th of July a flooding occurred in the basement of my building. I am renting a flat there and it goes with a small storage in the basement where I had some furnishings from the apartment there (bed, mattress, carpet). I was abroad on holidays at that time, I came back the 14th of August (16 days after). The 15th of August I received a mail from the landlord asking all the tenants to remove all the moldering furnishings that were starting to smell. That's how I learnt about the disaster.
I threw away the items that were smelling as they were asking to do so if the items in the basement were damaged. There was a container for this purpose at our disposal. It was their only answer to my proposal of checking by themselves whether they wanted to decide if the items were salvable or not. They said that they would send an invoice to replace these items (my personal estimation of the invoice is about 350-450$).
I checked the contract and it says that their insurance doesn't cover my personal belongings. But these items are their belongings, not mine. In the contract, it also says that I am responsible to take care of the furnishings, and financially responsible to replace missing or damaged items. I did not directly damaged these items, I am not responsible of the flooding. If I was there during the flooding maybe I could have dry them faster which would have prevented the moldering? But I had no idea how much time it took them to remove the water and dry the basement.
My question is: am I really supposed to pay for these items? Were they responsible to warn me sooner about the disaster so I could have come back earlier to take care of it? Could I really have done something to avoid the moldering? Is it my responsibility to be informed of any sinister happening in the basement of my flat even if I am abroad?
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Direct explanation from the responsible:
From the moment the tenant moves in, she/he is responsible for the apartment and the items that this includes.
As you removed these items from the apartment and unfortunately they were damaged you need to answer for them.
Our insurance does not cover those damages but you are welcome to ask your home insurance if they can take this costs for you.
You are also welcome to take a look at your contract:
“Furnishings The tenant undertakes to take good care of the apartment and the furnishings. The tenant is financially responsible to the landlord for missing or damaged furnishings. If something is damaged upon arrival, the landlord has to be informed within one week after arrival.”
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Parts from the leasing agreement
Insurance The landlord has an insurance for the apartment regarding fire, break in or other damages. Personal belongings are not covered by this insurance, neither is health care. It is the responsibility of the tenant to have a proper insurance.
Damages The tenant is responsible to take good care of the apartment. Costs for repairs of damages in the apartment caused by accident, neglect or on purpose will not be covered by the landlord or house owner. Only costs for repairs that can be considered as a result of normal use are covered.
Furnishings The tenant undertakes to take good care of the apartment and the furnishings. The tenant is financially responsible to the landlord for missing or damaged furnishings. If something is damaged upon arrival, the landlord has to be informed within one week after arrival.