Landlords have it good insofar as they collect rent from tenants on their property without putting in too much work on a day-to-day basis. But landlords should not get too relaxed; those who do nothing will find themselves facing negligence claims when someone is injured on a rental property.
There are many ways for people to get hurt, and there is no way to ensure that no injuries will ever happen on a property. But landlords can mitigate risk by paying attention to details and making maintenance a priority. Tenants should be aware of their rights and responsibilities, too. When a landlord falls short and someone gets hurt, consider one of the following common claims arising from the landlord-tenant relationship.
3 Common Claims
- Injury: A landlord who fails to maintain the safety of the rented premises will face a negligence claim if a tenant or even a guest of theirs is injured on the property. Owners of older buildings should be especially wary. Although not required to make major renovations, landlords must ensure that a building is safe by checking all exits and entries, stairways, elevators, common rooms, and parking spaces for potential hazards. Common areas and stairways should be free of hazards, those that are known and those that the landlord should have known about.
- Criminality: If someone in the building or property is a victim of crime on the premises, the landlord may be implicated. Different states will have different statutes indicating the extent of liability. Generally speaking, a landlord must ensure the safety of the property. If the jurisdiction requires a certain kind of lock, or multiple locks, which some do, and the landlord ignores this, when a break-in occurs, the property owner can be held responsible.
- Troublesome Tenants: In some places, a landlord will be held liable for renting a place to a known drug dealer. Even if no such provision exists in a state or locale’s specific laws, landlords can still be held liable for endangering other tenants by renting a place to someone who is a threat. Obviously, landlords also must be careful not to discriminate based on race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, or any other protected class – that too is a basis for a suit. But discrimination about tenants is nonetheless required.
Talk to a Lawyer
If you have been injured on a rented property or elsewhere, speak to a lawyer. Many personal injury attorneys consult for free or a minimal fee and will be happy to discuss your case. Similarly, if you are a worried landlord who wants to ensure that you have all your bases covered, talk to a local real estate attorney about the specific laws that apply to a property of the size you are renting out in that particular location. Get guidance.
- Have an injury claim? Get your claim reviewed for free. (Consumer Injury)
- Find Real Estate Lawyers Near You (FindLaw’s Lawyer Directory)
- Negligence: Background (FindLaw’s Learn About the Law)
- Elements of a Negligence Case (FindLaw’s Learn About the Law)
- Proving Fault: Elements of a Negligence Case (FindLaw’s Learn About the Law)