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Old 24.01.2015, 14:19
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Does the rental company need approval prior to repair of apartment damages

We recently moved out of an apartment in Basel.

The floors were wood and we did damage areas with water. We will pay to fix this. My wife sign the walk through form agreeing to the damage.

The rental company is now stating that they need to replace all of the floors and we're liable for 80% of the replacement cost. They have authorized the work. We've not seen quotes / estimates nor agreed on any costs.

My question is whether we're liable for costs when we've not agreed on the repair / replacement approach or cost of the person doing the work. I would have expected to see quotes etc before the work was started. We setup a deposit in joint escrow when we rented the apartment. If we disagree, can the rental company access those funds or do they need our agreement. We did have renters insurance which is supposed to cover some portion of this.

Baseler is the rental company. I've heard that they are generally quite reputable. Is that generally the case?

Thanks for comments.
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Old 24.01.2015, 14:21
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Re: Does the rental company need approval prior to repair of apartment damages

insurance?
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Old 24.01.2015, 14:33
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Re: Does the rental company need approval prior to repair of apartment damages

Yes. Renters insurance. Is that surprising?
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Old 24.01.2015, 14:34
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Re: Does the rental company need approval prior to repair of apartment damages

have you talked to the insurance? what did it cover?
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Old 24.01.2015, 14:41
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Re: Does the rental company need approval prior to repair of apartment damages

We did. The water damage was caused by rain leaking through the shutters of a window. The insurance company agreed some portion would be covered. However, I'm less concerned by insurance coverage of costs. Rather, it's the rental company's approach.
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Old 24.01.2015, 14:45
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Re: Does the rental company need approval prior to repair of apartment damages

First talk to your insurer - it's in their interest to limit the amount they are on the hook for, so the insurer is likely your best advocate in this.

Second course of action - talk to the Mieterverband, assuming you are a member. At this stage they probably can't do much more than advise you on whether the landlord is acting within the law, but even that is a help.

Unless you made a specific agreement at the handover that gave you approval in the selection of the company to repair the damage you probably don't have a leg to stand on asking for cost approval. It's the landlord's property, his decision as to who to use.

But if he is having work done where the cost is outlandish, well above market - this is where your insurer would be a useful ally.

(It was a million years ago, but when we had a similar situation we just handed it over to the insurer. They handled the negotiations, we ended up paying what seemed a fair amount in the end.)
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Old 24.01.2015, 14:45
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Re: Does the rental company need approval prior to repair of apartment damages

how old is the apartment
how long did you live there
is the insurance covering all but 200 per room (as probably defined in their deductable)?
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Old 24.01.2015, 14:58
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Re: Does the rental company need approval prior to repair of apartment damages

Unfortunately, we had a lot going on when we moved out so were not as thorough as we might normally have been. On the insurance, as we haven't seen the bill we haven't been able to review with them. I'm not sure what the deductible is, but based on what we paid them, I can't imagine they will want to replace all the wood floors. The apartment was 200m. We lived there 2.5 years. If the damage was more than 5% of the floor I would be stunned. I don't understand how they could argue the full floor should be replaced. Some of the floor was newer / some older.
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Old 24.01.2015, 17:33
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Re: Does the rental company need approval prior to repair of apartment damages

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...My wife sign the walk through form agreeing to the damage...
This might be key to how much you're on the hook for - what exactly did she agree to?
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Old 24.01.2015, 20:54
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Re: Does the rental company need approval prior to repair of apartment damages

If the landlord followed the law (I would assume a well known company such as Basler does) the deposit is in your name, so the landlord has no acces to the money. During the first 12 months after the rental contract has ended the bank needs the landlords OK to pay the money to you, after that you have free access to the money unless there's a legal dispute pending.

Since you have insurance against damage to the apartment itself (Mieterhaftpflicht-Versicherung) the best thing to do is hand the whole affair over to the insurance and let them deal with it as they'll be liable for the cost Basler has billed you for.

As far as I know the renter is only liable for full replacement (less depreciation based on the goods' age) if the damage is reasonably big. For instance, a single cigarette burn does not justify replacement of the whole carpet, neither does damage to the floor (wood or otherwise) in the parent bedroom justify replacement of the floor (wood or otherwise) in any other room. For small damages the two parties negotiate and agree on some amount payable in cash. From what you describe ("a [single] window") the most you should be liable for is replacement of the floor in that one room, if even that.

However, as 3Wishes is alluding to, what your wife signed may say something different than what you think it should say. Do check that handover document your wife signed. And if she signed for too much damage I'd immediately demand immediate access to the apartment in the hope the old floor is still there, and make a ton of photos to prove your case.
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Old 24.01.2015, 23:16
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Re: Does the rental company need approval prior to repair of apartment damages

We recently had to get some damage to wooden floor repaired in our house, contacted the insurance company who agreed in principal to cover the cost, but said it was up to the landlord to arrange for the repair and sign off on the work. I think it is basically so that landlord can't come back at a later date and request more money for the repair because it was not up to his standard.

Not sure if that is standard or not but given I was following the insurance companies instructions I would say that probably is the standard way in which things work, in which case it is not surprising that you didn't see the quotes.

We were lucky in the fact we have a very good relationship with our landlord and he forwarded the quote to us in case the insurance company wanted to see it beforehand.
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Old 25.01.2015, 09:12
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Re: Does the rental company need approval prior to repair of apartment damages

Very short answer, you are only liable for what you signed off on the handover Protokoll.
 




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