posted: Mar. 29, 2013 @ 11:04p
I would appreciate advice on a situation we have encountered with our tenant; details below:
We are landlords of a condo unit. On the day of the current tenant's move-in, they struck the parking garage structure with a rented truck, damaging the garage door and structure to the tune of $11,000. The tenant notified us the day it happened, and indicated in an e-mail that they take full responsibility for the situation. They filed a claim with their auto insurance, which was apparently initially approved, but then was ultimately denied due to limits on the gross tonnage of the vehicle driven at the time exceeding their personal auto insurance limits. The repair work was performed as it was necessary for operation of the garage. The condo association paid the contractor as they did not want a lien on the property.
We have been sent a notice from the condo association saying that we (landlords) are responsible for the funds owed because under the rules of the condo association we are responsible for the behavior/actions of our tenants. We immediately notified the tenant of this situation (they were not aware that the claim was denied), and they are trying to fight the claim with the auto insurance. However, I am not very hopeful this will lead anywhere and I get the feeling that they are dragging their feet.
We have a standard landlord insurance policy but have not filed a claim as I view this as a last resort before suing the tenant to collect the funds, should they not pay. There seems to be some question as to whether it would cover such damages, anyway (I spoke with the company). The condo association filing a claim is 99% not going to happen as it takes a board motion and may raise rates.
The terms of our lease with the tenant has a broad indemnification clause that protects us from such a situation (I've copied it below) - but what I'm looking for advice on is the steps by which to start the process to get the money from the tenant.
Ideas for first steps? I've considered the following:
-Sending a certified letter or notice of the amount owed myself and citing the terms of the lease.
-Engaging a lawyer to send a collection notice to the tenant with a requirement of payment in X number of days.
-Filing a claim concurrently with my landlord insurance while trying to collect via the - any thoughts on this?
Any help would be appreciated.
Landlord shall not be liable and tenant hereby waives all claims against landlord for any damage to any property or any injury to any person in or about the Premises or the building of which the Premises are a part of, or in the structure or equipment of the structure of which the Premises are a part from any cause whatsoever, except to the extent caused by or arising from the gross negligence or willful misconduct of landlord. Tenant shall protect, indemnify and hold the LANDLORD harmless from and against any and all loss, claims, liability or costs (including court costs and attorney's fees) incurred by reason of (a) any damage to any property or any injury to any person occurring in, on or about the Premises to the extent that such injury or damage shall be caused by or arise from any actual or alleged act, neglect, fault, or omission by or of tenant, its agents, servants, employees, invitees, or visitors to meet any standards imposed by any duty with respect to the injury or damage; (b) the conduct or management of any work or thing whatsoever done by the tenant in or about the Premises or from general use Premises by the tenant; (c) tenant's failure to comply with any and all governmental laws, ordinances, rules, and regulations applicable to the condition or use of the Premises or its occupancy; or (d) any breach or default on the part of tenant in the performance of any covenant or agreement on the part of the tenant to be performed pursuant to this Lease. The provisions of this Article shall survive the termination of this Lease with respect to any claims or liability accruing prior to such termination.