My rented apartment has been burgled. Who is responsible for the damage caused to the property – me or my landlord?

Simran Prasad, Director of Property Management, Benham & Reeves Residential Lettings
Simran Prasad

If, like most tenants, you have an Assured Shorthold Tenancy, this should outline the tenant’s and landlord’s responsibilities. Typically, the landlord is responsible for ensuring the property is safe, secure and in good repair.

So, if damage is caused during a burglary (or in any other circumstances), usually the landlord is responsible for repairs. This would include repairing a broken window or vandalism to an outside space, for example.

This is unless the landlord can prove the damage was due to the tenant’s actions and therefore the tenant would be responsible. In legal terms, this is known as ‘waste’ and refers to deliberate actions caused by the tenant such as breaking a window or door.

Responsibility for damage caused inside the property also depends on who caused the damage. If the tenant cannot be held responsible for any damage, whether to fixtures or furnishings supplied by the landlord, the landlord is responsible for repairs or replacement.

This should be covered by the landlord’s buildings and contents insurance. If the insurer won’t pay, it is the landlord’s responsibility to pay, unless it can be proved the damage is caused by the tenant.

The tenant should have their own contents insurance for personal belongings.

The exception is if the tenancy agreement requires the tenant to ‘yield up’ the property in a similar condition to as at the start of the tenancy. In this case, the tenant is responsible for repairs, even though they were not at fault.

If you are burgled, report the break-in to the police and ask for a crime report number. Then contact your landlord or managing agent and inform them of any repairs necessary.

Some simple tips to protect your home are: lock doors and windows before going out; set the alarm and put lights on a timer; don’t leave bins out while you are away and don’t let post pile up. Consider installing additional security measures yourself – you will need the landlord’s permission.

Simran Prasad
Director of Property Management
Benham and Reeves