San Francisco is one of the most renter-heavy cities in the entire country. According to data provided by the Bay Area Census, more than 64 percent of the total housing units in San Francisco County are ‘renter-occupied’. Just like homeowners, tenants need to know what they should do and who they can hold liable if their property is damaged in a disaster or an accident.
For tenants, bringing a property damage claim can be especially confusing. Unfortunately, far too many tenants get misled by their landlord or by the insurance company, and they end up not bringing a claim at all. Do not let this happen to you: you deserve full and fair compensation for your losses. Here, our San Francisco tenant property damage attorneys highlight the most important steps that you need to take after sustaining property damage in your apartment.
Property Damage Claims: Four Steps Tenants Must Take to Protect their Rights
1. Report the Damage Immediately
After you have sustained a property loss, you should report the incident as soon as possible. Whether the damage was caused by theft, flooding, landlord negligence, a fire, or any other issue, you need to notify all relevant parties. In general, you should start by notifying your landlord. From there, you may also need to file a report with local law enforcement and with an insurance company.
2. Carefully Document Your Damages
To the best of your ability, you should take action to document your losses. In some cases, such as when a major apartment fire has occurred, this can be deeply challenging. Still, you should do whatever you can to gather all relevant documentation, from receipts, to financial records, to photographs. The more evidence that you have that establishes the value of your losses, the better off you will be when it comes time to make a claim.
3. Know Who is Responsible for Your Losses
Depending on the specific facts of your case, many different parties might potentially bear liability for your losses. If you have renters’ insurance, you may be able to make a claim against your policy. In other cases, you may be able to hold your landlord, apartment complex, or property manager legally liable for negligence, due to their violation of California law. If liability is unclear, your claim will require comprehensive investigation.
4. Be Ready to Seek Professional Legal Help
You should not settle for a single dollar less than full compensation for your losses. If you are having trouble getting a full settlement offer from your landlord, apartment complex, or insurance company, you should consult with an experienced San Francisco tenant property damage lawyer immediately. A skilled lawyer will be able to protect your legal rights and financial interests.
Contact Our Bay Area Tenant Property Damage Attorneys Today
At Bracamontes & Vlasak, P.C., our California tenant property damage lawyers have helped many people recover full and fair compensation for their losses. For a free consultation, please call us today at (415) 835-6777. From our office in San Francisco, we represent clients throughout Northern California, including in Alameda County, San Mateo County, Contra Costa County, and Marin County.