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What Happens if a Tenant Burns Down Your House?

What Happens if a Tenant Burns Down Your House?

If you are a landlord renting out a house, townhouse, condominium or apartment to a tenant the thought of a fire may be one of your biggest fears.

The good news is, if you take certain precautions, you can be protected against financial loss.

So what does happen if a tenant burns down your house?

The key determining factors are:

Do you have a landlord insurance policy?

Does that policy include rent coverage?

If you can answer yes to both of these questions, then you don’t have to worry, you are protected – subject to your deductible, of course.

Basically, rent coverage within a landlord insurance policy ensures your insurance carrier covers the damages and lost rent costs in the event of a fire.

Let’s take a closer look.

What exactly is a landlord insurance policy?

A landlord insurance policy is exactly what the name says – it is an insurance policy for someone who rents out a home that they own. This type of policy usually includes two coverage types:

– Property

– Liability

Both of these coverages are meant to help protect the landlord from financial loss if a tenant burns down your house.

What is property protection?

This type of coverage is for property related to the home you are renting. It can include the structure itself as well as equipment you use to maintain the home. Here is more about what property protection covers:


Pays to repair the rented property if it is damaged by fire or by such things as lightning, wind or hail.

Other Structures:

Pays to repair detached structures on the rental property. For example, this could include a garage or fence.

Personal Property:

This covers damage to personal equipment, like a lawn mower or snow blower, which is kept on site to maintain the rental property.

Please keep in mind that the protections mentioned above are all subject to deductibles and limits as set forth in the specific landlord policy.

Deductibles are the amount you have agreed to pay for a covered loss before the insurance starts paying.

Limits are the maximum amount a policy pays after a covered loss.

What is liability protection?

This portion of the landlord insurance policy covers such things as another person’s medical bills and legal expenses if someone is injured on the property and you are found to be responsible.

An example where liability insurance would come into play is when a tenant falls down a set of stairs and the court determines that you did not maintain the stairs properly.

In addition to these two coverages, there are additional coverages that you may want to consider adding to a landlord policy. These include:


This would help you pay for vandalism damage that occurs to your property. Traditional landlord policies don’t cover this.


This add-on coverage would pay to replace stolen items. Typical landlord coverage pays for damage that occurs during a break-in but not for the items that were stolen.


This add-on covers the structure while renovations are performed.

Building Codes:

This coverage helps reimburse for additional costs that arise from being legally required to upgrade items like wiring and ventilation during rental repairs.

So what doesn’t a landlord insurance policy cover?

Common items not covered under this type of insurance policy include:

Equipment maintenance and breakdowns:

This includes items like dishwashers or furnaces or air conditioners. You’ll have to pay for maintenance and replacement out of your own pocket.

Shared property:

Landlord policies are typically for “non-owner-occupied” property. That means if you live on the property or on another floor you are not eligible for a landlord policy.

Tenants’ possessions:

Landlord insurance is for landlords only and does not cover items owned by the tenant, such as clothing or electronics.

That is why it is important for landlords to require tenants to have renters insurance. This insurance helps renters pay to replace the items they lose in a fire.

What about rent following a house fire?

In most landlord liability policies, you can include rent coverage. That means subject to your deductible, you’ll be able to receive lost rent costs from the insurance company.

In many states, for example Georgia is one, tenants are required to cover rent following a house fire up until the property is reoccupied. This is similar to a homeowner being required to pay mortgage and tax payments following a house fire.

That’s another reason why it is smart for landlords to require tenants to obtain renters insurance as their policy will cover rent.

However, when it comes to renters paying rent on a burned property in most cases the court does not end up requiring it.

In most cases, judges deem that rent due abates at some point and often this point is the actual date of the fire. That’s why it is important when considering what happens if a tenant burns down your house that you know you have rent coverage.

What should you do about a burned rental home?

Landlords basically have two choices if a tenant burns down your house:

– They can repair the property and rent it out again

– Or they can sell the property

Renting a home that has been damaged by fire can be difficult. Not too many people want to rent a home that has suffered a fire. They are concerned that there could be unseen damage that could put their health or even their lives at stake.

For example, they worry about there being electrical damage that could cause another fire.

They may also be concerned about smoke and soot damage not being removed and then breathing it in for an extended period which could negatively impact their health.

This is why many landlords choose to sell their fire-damaged houses instead of repairing them.

If you are a landlord who is interested in selling a burned house, We Buy Fire Damaged Houses pays all cash and buys houses “as is.”

That means you don’t have to worry about going through any lengthy, frustrating repair process. You can simply sell the home, receive your cash payment and move on with your life.

To see if your rental property qualifies for a free quote from We Buy Fire Damaged Houses, simply fill out the short form below.


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