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How is Responsibility Determined for Hurricane Damage in Apartments and Rentals?

Hurricane damage most certainly affects individuals in Georgia, and not just those along the coast period of course, coastal dwellers in Georgia typically run the most risks of sustaining hurricane damage, but even individuals inland can experience a significant amount of property damage caused by wind, rain, and flooding.

But how is responsibility determined after a hurricane damages apartments and rentals in Georgia? This is a complicated question, and often, the process leaves renters needing help finding answers.

The Landlord Covers Property Damage

In most residential lease situations, the landlord is responsible for maintaining the property. Typically, this will include the major components of the building, such as central heating and air, the roof, siding, and structure.

Additionally, landlord responsibility in Georgia typically extends to common areas in the property, including gathering spaces, lobbies, the pool, meeting areas, and more. Depending on what the lease says, the landlord may also be responsible for any cleanup that must occur around the property after the event. Contact a Newnan premises liability attorney for help regarding the lease.

The Renter Covers Personal Property Damage

In almost all situations, renters will be responsible for any damage to their personal property within and outside of the rental unit. Generally, renters will not be responsible for paying structural damage expenses after a hurricane occurs in Georgia. 

For example, whereas a landlord may be responsible for fixing a broken deck after a hurricane, a tenant will be responsible for any furniture they had on the deck that was also destroyed at the time of the event. Similarly, if the roof comes off of the house and causes significant property damage inside the dwelling, the landlord will be responsible for fixing the structural damage, while the tenant will be responsible for any personal property damaged inside as a result of the roof coming off the house.

Special Provisions Listed in a Lease

Special provisions written into a lease that require a tenant to carry more responsibility for property damage costs after a hurricane may be included in areas more prone to hurricanes. Specific language may also be included about what storm damage the landlord will cover and what storm damage the tenant will cover.

What Will Insurance Cover?

As a renter, our Newnan personal injury lawyers strongly encourage you to obtain renter’s insurance to help cover all of your personal property should an event occur that causes damage. This type of insurance will be invaluable for damage caused by hurricanes, flooding, wind, fire, hail, and more. Renter’s insurance is not terribly expensive and pays off in dividends if an event does occur.

Could a Landlord Be Responsible for Personal Property Damage?

Even though tenants are typically responsible for paying for their own personal property damage after a hurricane, there may be some circumstances where a landlord may have to pay for the damage. For example, if poor maintenance on the property led to damage that otherwise would not have occurred when the hurricane happened, then the landlord may be held responsible for the damage. 

Consider a landlord who knew or should have known about poor roof conditions at their property but failed to remedy the situation before a hurricane occurred. If the poor roof conditions led to damage occurring that likely would not have happened otherwise, the tenant may be able to file a claim to recover additional property damage compensation.