Last Tuesday night, I'm enjoying a soak in the tub, and I hear some kid in his muscle car cutting donuts in the apartment parking lot next door. No sweat, I think - his motor & his tires... Then I hear the inevitable "crunch." First thought in my mind - "I hope he didn't hit my fence..."
Wednesday morning I wander out for a look-see & sure enough my six-foot chain-link with privacy slats is ripped up for about 30 feet, and at least four or five posts are taken out. So I meander over to the apartment office & explain the situation. Office manager assures me that someone saw the incident, and although they don't have a plate number, they know the make & color. She further says that whether the perp is a resident or not, their insurance will fix the fence.
Cut to this weekend - no contact from apartment management, their attorney, or their insurance company. Makes me think that they don't plan to pay.
So to the questions:
Is the apartment liable for my fence, even though it may have been a member of the general public driving a stolen car and not one of their residents that caused the damage?
If they are liable, this will be a multi-thousand dollar repair; can I take them to small-claims court or do I need an attorney?
If they aren't liable, is this worth taking up with my homeowner's insurance company or should I bite the bullet and cough up the repair myself?
The local building code says that commercial businesses must maintain a fence between them and their residential neighbors. If I tear the whole fence down, can I then go to court & force the apartment folks to install a new fence on their property?
1 Answer from Attorneys
Contact a Baton Rouge lawyer who handles property claims. Since there is a local ordinance on the issue (according to what you say), the answer might be local.