The unit below my rental apartment suffered water damage, apparently caused by my bathtub. Can I be held responsible?

My landlord's insurer says I may be responsible for all costs. I have lived there for 13 years and never had a complaint.



North Vancouver, BC

As a renter, so long as you didn't cause the problem through your own negligence (like letting the tub overflow), it’s the unit owner who should be on the hook for any damage.

Generally, it's up to the owner to ensure the bathtub is in proper working order and doesn't fail over time. If the tub leaked because it wasn’t kept in good repair, that’s on your landlord. Alternatively, the water damage might have a different cause — perhaps the building's pipes are failing, and the leak had nothing to do with the bathtub. Either of these scenarios enable you to deny being responsible.

Normally the insurance company handling the claim would want to assess who is responsible to try to recover a deductible and their costs. If you get sued for the costs (whether by your landlord or an insurance company), ask your landlord whether and how an investigation is being done as to what the cause of the overflow was.

If you want to dispute the finding of your landlord or the insurance company, here is guidance on defending a civil claim in small claims court. Or check out these free and low-cost options for legal advice.

David Kandestin

David Kandestin

People's Law School
  • This information applies to British Columbia, Canada
  • Reviewed for legal accuracy in June 2021

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