Q: Who is responsible 4 damage caused by third party installation company (water damage/asbestos disruption in a rental)?
Washer/dryer, delivery/installation were purchased directly from a big box store (BBS). BBS hired a third party for D/I. Install done incorrectly, water flowed from washer during first cycle. Installer admitted & corrected install. Damage repair requires asbestos abatement. BBS says not responsible because they only sold appliance & it's not defective, even though we paid them directly for the install service. Installer claims that they'll only reimburse for damage repair, but we are responsible for hiring repair company & upfront pymt. We notified installer that upfront pymt./reimbursement not acceptable/not financially possible. Installer says only way to get repairs done. BBS no help, says we must work with installer or file with rental insurance. Rental management says file with rental insurance. Rental insurance said no claim to file, installer responsible. Pressure from landlord to get repaired asap. Tenants very concerned with health risks due to exposure to asbestos.
If you have not made a claim with your own rental insurance you should do so. Additionally, depending on what your lease agreement says you or your rental insurance may be responsible for the repairs and depending on the contract you signed with the installer/store as well. It is hard to say as without reading the contracts, it is difficult to answer your question. Additionally, other variables may change the answer, thus you should contact a local landlord tenant or personal injury attorney to review the contracts.
Gregory L Abbott agrees with this answer
A: I agree with my colleague and also that many variables could change the advice and/or outcome. That said, it appears reasonable to think you likely have claims against both the BBS and the installer if BBS is one that retained the installer to do the job (let them sort our which owes what) but also likely with your insurance company. Even if the installer is responsible, most insurance policies would trigger the insurance company stepping in on your behalf, funding the repairs, and then they go after either BBS or the installer or both for reimbursement. Still, in Oregon, usually the landlord has the obligation to timely repair regardless of whether the tenant was "at fault" or otherwise. The landlord normally arranges and pays for the repairs initially, and then goes after the tenant for reimbursement if they believe the tenant liable for the damages. Or here, they could after BBS/installer for reimbursement.
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