A Tenant’s Pursuit of Lost Wages

Malfunctioning door is a burden, but is landlord liable?

by Robert Griswold
Q: Recently the garage door of the home I rent got stuck and I couldn’t get my car out of the garage to get to work. I missed part of my job and I asked my landlord to reimburse me for lost wages. She said she doesn’t have to. Is that true? I work on an hourly salary, so I wanted to bill her for the lost hours.

A: I would side with your landlord, unless the garage door got stuck because of an ongoing failure of the landlord to properly maintain the garage door.
The reality of life is that things in any home or apartment will break. It is unfortunate, but if this was not a recurring problem then there is no way the landlord could have known it was going to happen.

Did you ever complain in advance and warn the landlord that you were having problems with the garage door?

While landlords need to be responsive, they are not the guarantors that nothing will ever break or go wrong in life.

If the electric power goes out in your apartment in the middle of the night and your alarm clock doesn’t go off at the set time, does your utility company reimburse you if you are a few hours late to work? I don’t think so.
I think you are being unreasonable.
This column on issues confronting tenants and landlords is written by property manager Robert Griswold, author of “Property Management for Dummies” and “Property Management Kit for Dummies” and co-author of “Real Estate Investing for Dummies.”

E-mail your questions to Rental Q&A at [email protected].
Questions should be brief and cannot be answered individually.
Copyright 2010 Inman News
See Robert Griswold’s feature, The Unfair Late Fee.
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