If you, say, damage the fence of a house, and you repair the damage, are you obligated to inform the owner of the fence of what occurred? Or must you inform your landlord for damages you caused and fixed?

  • 3
    One angle to this, is that you may not even be allowed to automatically fix it yourself prior to getting permission from the owner to do so. For example, the fence owner may have a warranty on the fence that requires him to have it fixed only by a specific company using their mateials, or the warranty may be voided. Your using your own company to fix it would add more "damage" to the situation.
    – DanF
    Jan 10, 2016 at 1:29

2 Answers 2


I don't know of a source that discusses this case, but I do know of a similar case. What if I stole something of yours and returned it without your knowledge? This is possibly a Machlokes between R' Akiva and R' Yishmael.

You see, they argue in a Braisa (BM 40b) about stealing (according to the Ba'al HaMeor - the Rif holds it's discussing Shlichus Yad), and R' Yishmael holds that all you have to do is return the object. Since the Mishnah there, according to three and a half out of every four Amoraim (see sugya there at length) is a Stam Mishnah like R' Yishmael, according to the Ba'al HaMeor, you would not have to inform the owner about the fact that you stole the object. All you have to do is "lemakom sheganav yachazir" - put it back where you found it.

Since stealing is a form of damage (BK 4b), it would seem that by damage, too, you wouldn't have to tell the owner that you damaged it if you fixed it up such that it's impossible to tell, on any human level, that it was ever damaged. Of course, you certainly should tell the owner, but I don't think there's a chiyuv to do so.


No, he does not say nothing to the owner. It seems that reparation of damage is similar to restitution of a stolen object. To inform the owner appear only to be directed to avod a new loss ot the object. E.G. If we return an object and the owner doesn't know that it is here, he cannot take care of him. When there is no problem of taking care, we are not in duty to inform the owner. If we assume that the repairing of the damage is made perfectly, there is no utility to inform the owner.

Gemara Baba Kama 118b:

It was taught: If a man robbed another but made [up for the amount by] inserting it in his settlement of accounts, it was taught on one occasion that he thereby fulfilled his duty, {in conclusion there is only one opinion in the Berayta}

Gemara Baba Metsia 64a:

Because it was taught: If a man robbed another but made [up for the amount by] inserting it in his settlement of accounts, he thereby fulfilled his duty.

Rambam Nezikin Gneva 4, 10: and Gzela 1, 8:; See also Smag Assin 71 and Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat 355, 1-3 which described special cases, not really relevant here.

The mitsva is to repair the damage and if it is possible to make this without causing further damaging to the owner (i.e. if there is not thechnical problem with the fact that the owner doesn't know that it was a dammage and that it was repaired), to inform the owner is facultative only.

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