Is the landlord responsible for water damage

Legal question of the day:

A burst pipe or a burst washing machine hose can cause considerable damage. Who pays for the costs if the rental apartment is suddenly under water?


There are various causes for water damage. A pipe in the wall could break or the washing machine's water hose could come loose. Whatever happened: First, turn off the water and electricity. Various insurance policies can cover the damage caused by the water. Whether the tenant or the landlord is responsible depends on the cause.

Where does the water come from?

Before thinking about the responsibility for water damage, the cause must first be clarified. Did you overflow the bathtub and the water dripped through the ceiling into the apartment below you? Then you culpably caused the damage. Your landlord does not have to take responsibility for the damage. The same applies to damage caused by defective home appliances like washing machines or dishwashers. For example, if you do not have an Aquastop device on your washing machine hose, you will need to check the hose regularly. If you don't do this and keep the faucet open all the time, you will be liable for a burst or slipped hose. It depends on rented equipment such as a water boiler. Your landlord is actually liable for equipment that is rented out. However, if you have not adhered to the maintenance intervals agreed in the rental contract, a burst boiler can quickly be at your expense. At least if the lack of maintenance was the cause of the damage. The basic principle is: Anyone who caused the damage by doing or not doing anything is liable.

Self-negligence of the tenant

If you as a tenant have yourself to blame for the wet feet, you can find one Household insurance looking forward. This reimburses you for the damage that the water has caused to furniture, carpets and other inventory. You can also claim costs for clearing out, storing furniture and even staying in a hotel if you have to leave the apartment temporarily. But be careful! Usually only damage caused by tap water is insured. The overflowing bathtub can fall out. And if you have a large aquarium or a water bed, check whether your insurance covers them. If your neighbor has been affected, yours will take action Personal liability insurance a. The same applies to damage to the building.

Fault on the part of the landlord

It comes to one Burst water pipe, the house owner is responsible for repairing the damage. Whose building insurance pays for the repair of the building and the substance of the apartment. This insurance is not responsible for the tenant's household effects. He can then claim his damage with his home insurance. If the damage is due to negligence on the part of the landlord, tenants can also assert their claims as compensation.

Rent reduction

If the landlord is responsible for the water damage, you as the tenant may reduce the rent appropriately. A reduction due to the Noise from the drying equipment or because of a partial or complete Uninhabitable the apartment. The amount of the rent reduction depends on the type and duration of the impairment that you have to accept. Each individual case must be considered separately.

Better safe than sorry!

Certainly not all water damage can be avoided. However, if you stick to a few rules, you can keep the risk of flooding low. For example, you shouldn't run your washing machine or dishwasher when you are away from home. A water stop system on the washing machine hose also prevents uncontrolled leakage of water if the hose should burst. If you want to treat yourself to a bath, don't leave the bathtub unattended. Or set up an egg timer that reminds you to turn off the tap on time. In order to be able to react quickly in an emergency, you should look for the main tap for the water inlet in your apartment. And if you notice damp spots on the wall, call your landlord immediately. These spots can indicate a hidden broken pipe.