TV Antennae installation - who is liable for damage caused?

Rebecca Norton asks:
(updated on Thursday, June 19th 2008)

I had sky installed to the house I am renting. 8 months later a leak has occurred in the ceiling so the landlord fixed it. Then the leak re-occurred and they had a roofing man come and look at the damage and he has said that 'in his opinion it was caused by the person who installed the sky/tv antennae'. The landlord is now asking me to pay for the costs of fixing this problem. I would have thought that this would be covered under the landlords insurance. Am I liable? If so, why?

Our Experts Answer:

A tenant is responsible for damage that is carelessly or intentionally caused by themselves or anyone they invite onto the property. This means that if the damage was carelessly or intentionally caused by the person who installed the antennae at your request, then you will be responsible to the landlord for repairing the damage. Whether your landlord is able to make an insurance claim does not affect your liability for the cost of repairing any damage you are responsible for. The landlord is not obliged to lodge an insurance claim. Whether the landlord’s insurance would cover this type of damage would depend on the details of their policy. Where a tenant is responsible for damage to the property, and the landlord successfully lodges an insurance claim, the landlord may be able to claim from the tenant the amount of any excess. They may also claim the cost of the repair on behalf of the insurance company. You may also wish to discuss the situation with the person or company who installed the antennae. I suggest that you also discuss the situation with your local Community Law Centre or Citizens Advice Bureau about any responsibility the installer may have for the damage.

The Department of Building and Housing provides information and guidance on building law and compliance, services including weathertight homes, and advice for tenants and landlords.

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