Tenant negligence caused water damage

We moved and rented our home in mid Dec last year. On new years eve the tenants sent a picture of the roof water leak in the family room. We sent our contractor right away, he said it’s not due to the plumbing. Apparently, the tenants accidentally didn’t close the bidet shower in the master bedroom toilet properly and left for a 5 day vacation and came back to see the carpet wet and downstairs family room roof leaking.

They paid the contractor service fee and got the industrial dryers from HomeDepot, they promised to follow up on their renters insurance for restoration. They turned positive for covid and cannot let anyone till Jan 24th and now saying their renter insurance would not cover for the property and asking if our home insurance would cover the expenses.

It’s been 20 days and all the water dried up and there are no more leaks. Not sure if it is worth spending money to dry things professionally. Spouse says better to get the sheet rock repaired and I don’t see why we should use our home insurance when the damage is due to their negligence and wanted see how others would handle this kind of situation?

I think the step one should be to assess if any risk still exists (beyond what eyes can see) and then step two is to assess how much damage this incident has caused. If the floor has dried up nice and no damage is visible, then we can say it is good news. Wood is pretty resistant to water damage unless it is holding standing water (which seems not the case here). If all water has drained down and wood has dried up, I would think risk is low.

I will still have someone with expert knowledge to look into it though I will take time to shop around and find a good one who is not asking arm and leg.


I would cut the sheetrock 12" above the water high mark and replace it . Insulation?? Bathrooms have fiberglass in interior walls for soundproofing (sometimes).

Anyway… keyword “mold”:


Usually renter’s insurance don’t cover water damages, just mostly belongings. This is why you have landlords insurance. If it’s a smaller job, you might just have to pay out of pocket. Cost of doing business.

As mentioned by ptiemann, you need to watch out for mold growing behind your walls and floors/ceiling.


Thank you for all the replies. Sounds like cutting the sheet rock in ceiling would be ideal. Both the bathroom and family room floors are tile so hopefully less damage.

We are debating on who is picking up the bill and involving insurance. Should the landlord use their insurance, our tenant took the responsibility for the damage and is being co-operative. Tenants insurance isn’t covering property damage, the bill is going to be around 3k.

Watch out for involving insurance. We’re dealing with this with an issue with the neighbors because we had a broken sprinkler pipe, and the damage may be in the $20-$25K range. Our insurance company is (or was?) dragging its feet, and the damage may be getting worse as we wait because of the rain exacerbating the situation. Also, I’ve got a friend who had their insurance cancelled because of a claim (in the $20-$25K range, also water damage).

Anyways, if it were $3K, I’d do it and be done. Faster, less hassle, you do it your way, and it doesn’t ding your insurance record. Raise the rent to cover it next renewal or take it out of the security deposit or ask them to cover all or half of it.

[Caveat I am not a landlord]

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You get what you pay for - ask a realtor for recommendations, they know who is best to do a job. I had a client who insisted on the cheapest septic inspector and he found out later the man missed a second connection that became a problem. I also use a “deal killer” home inspector. I’m not looking for easy, I’m looking for what’s best for my clients. So, if this requires an inspector who will not just gloss over the situation, that is how you go.

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