Legal Q&A: Grease fire caused by tenant


Question: If the landlord accepts a rent payment from someone other than the lessee, does that give them any rights?

Answer: It could if they are occupants of the property. They would have to convince the court that they are now tenants under a verbal agreement.

Question: There was a grease fire in one of our rental units due to a tenant’s lack of knowledge of cooking. What is my obligation to provide alternate accommodations for this tenant? Am I required to keep her as a renter?

Ted Kimball Kimball, Tirey & St. John LLP

Ted Kimball
Kimball, Tirey & St. John LLP

Answer: You are not obligated to put the tenant up. You may have a right to evict her based upon waste of the unit, which requires a three-day notice to quit.

Question: The tenants living in one of our apartments signed a one-year lease which states that there will be no pets allowed. They now have two cats in the apartment and are only in the second month of the lease. We served a three-day notice to perform covenant or quit. They have chosen to leave. The rent for the entire month was paid.  Are they entitled to the prorated amount of rent for the unused portion of the month?

Answer: No, they are liable for the remainder of the lease or up to the time you relet the premises, whichever occurs first.

Kimball, Tirey & St. John LLP is a full service real estate law firm representing residential and commercial property owners and managers. This article is for general information purposes only. Laws may have changed since this article was published. Before acting, be sure to receive legal advice from our office. If you have questions, please contact your local KTS office. For contact information, please visit our website: For past Legal Alerts, Questions & Answers, and Legal Articles, please consult the resource library section of our website.

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  • What portion of the security deposit is the tenant entitled to, that started the grease fire in a situation such as the one described?

  • Thanks for your question, Raymond. Here’s a response from KTS:

    The tenant is responsible for all damage and can use the deposit for all of the amount owed.