Are you vulnerable in your own home?
Find out how your landlord could unknowingly be putting your safety at risk.
The relationship between a landlord and tenant can be a complex one. Everything needs to be spelled out in perfectly legal terminology in the lease agreement between the two so as to protect both sides of the equation. For instance, it is a landlord’s responsibility to keep the rental property safe and in good overall condition. But, what happens if a tenant is injured on the property? When Is a Landlord Responsible for Injuries?
Did you know your landlord is responsible for your safety?
If you, as the tenant, are injured on the landlord’s property, then it is not a given that the landlord can be held responsible for those injuries. This includes injuries in the tenant’s housing unit (apartment or house) as well as injuries in a “common area” such as an apartment complex fitness area or meeting area. Instead, the landlord can only be held legally responsible (and be held liable for damages), if he or she did not “exercise reasonable care.” In addition, the landlord must have been able to foresee the damages or injuries that you suffered. This is generally referred to as “negligence” since the failure to act had consequences that led to injury or damage.
What is reasonable care?
Reasonable care is the standard of care that landlords owe their tenants. If the landlord does not meet this standard of care, and an injury occurs on the property, then he or she is responsible. A judge will look at two components to determine if the landlord acted reasonably. First, they will look at what a reasonable, average, normal landlord would have done under the same or similar circumstances. Second, they will examine if the landlord showed at least that level of care. If a child is involved, a landlord may have a greater burden of responsibility because kids can’t weigh risks and dangers like an adult can, so the landlord may have to take this into consideration.
Is your landlord putting you in danger?
What are some examples of landlord liability? An example of a landlord not exercising reasonable care would be if the landlord did not make adequate repairs to the property or keep up with the maintenance. If a landlord does not repair a stairway handrail and the tenant reaches for it and it breaks causing the tenant to fall, then the landlord could be held responsible. The only question here would be if the landlord had an adequate time to make the repairs and failed to do so.
What about security?
A landlord can also be responsible for damages caused by break-ins if he fails to take security measures that are considered reasonably foreseeable. For instance, if a tenant is assaulted in the entryway or parking area of the property because of improper lighting, then the landlord is liable. Also, if the door or window to an apartment doesn’t lock and the landlord does not repair this, then he is responsible if the home is broken into through the unlocked entryway.
It is often difficult to understand the minute details of personal injury law and the requirements to show liability in a case. If your or someone you love has been injured as a result of a landlord’s negligence, then it is important to fully understand your rights under the law. Be sure to contact the firm of Wolf & Pravato so you can learn more about these rights.