Fight damage liability

Question from Carrie updated on 7th February 2019:

My tenant states that an unknown neighbour came into her garage and a boyfriend followed her into the garage and that the two were fighting and caused damage to the garage door. My tenant claims she called the police and stayed inside while the couple was in the garage. There is damage to the garage door that the tenant wants me to pay for. Who is responsible for this damage, me or the tenant?



Our expert Bernard Parker responded:

You haven’t said whose boyfriend was fighting. Was he the unwanted neighbour’s or the tenant’s? If either person in the garage was a permitted visitor, then the tenant is liable for permitted visitors and any damage that they cause.

I will assume for the purposes of this question that neither person fighting in the garage was invited nor permitted onto the property. In that case the tenant is not responsible for the damage these intruders caused. If the police were called, there will be a Police Incident Number tracking that call. I suggest you contact your insurance company and make a claim, quoting the Police Incident Number if required by your insurer.



Bernard is principal of Quinovic – Kapiti-Mana. Quinovic's outstanding people and systems provide the most professional, effective and reliable residential property management service in the NZ market for over 30 years.

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