Liability for tenants' fire loss?

Question from Maree updated on 27th August 2013:

My rental property burnt down and I would like to know if I am liable for the tenants' property that was damaged due to the fire starting by a faulty power point?

Our expert Diane Nelson responded:

The answer to this is fairly straight forward depending on a couple of points. Firstly if you were completely unaware of the 'faulty' power point then there is no liability. Secondly if the tenant had reported the 'faulty' power point and nothing was done to undertake repairs then (if the tenants had insured their belongings) you could be liable for negligence. The tenants' insurer could seek recovery from the landlord.

Diane Nelson has over 14 years experience as a property manager in the Northland region. She now owns the REAL Landlord Insurance NZ Ltd brokerage and for over six years has specialised in the Landlord Preferred Policy,for investment owners who have their properties professionally managed. Diane also runs property management consultancy business Passionate about Property Management.

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