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Landlord / Tenant Law Supreme Court Opinion

by Roy, Christopher


SC19794 - Amica Mutual Ins. Co. v Muldowney ("This appeal concerns the right of a landlord’s insurer to use the doctrine of equitable subrogation to bring an action against a tenant for damage the tenant caused to the rented property. In DiLullo v. Joseph, 259 Conn. 847, 851, 854, 792 A.2d 819 (2002), this court announced a ‘default rule,’ pursuant to which a landlord’s insurer has no right of subrogation unless the landlord and tenant have made a ‘specific agreement’ otherwise, ‘leaving it to the specific agreement of the parties if they wish a different rule to apply to their, or their insurers’, relationship.’ In the present case, the parties dispute what sort of ‘specific agreement’ is required to overcome DiLullo’s presumption against subrogation. Id., 854. Specifically, they disagree whether the lease must expressly state that a landlord’s insurer has a right of subrogation against the tenant, or whether it is sufficient for the lease to notify the tenant explicitly that he is responsible for any damage to the leased property and to allocate to the tenant the responsibility to provide liability and property damage insurance. The trial court and the Appellate Court both concluded that it was sufficient for the lease to allocate to the tenant responsibility for damage caused by the tenant and to require the tenant to obtain insurance, even without a specific agreement authorizing subrogation. We agree with those courts, and we therefore affirm the judgment of the Appellate Court.")