Who Is Responsible For Personal Injuries on Rental Properties
Posted in Slip and Fall Accidents on June 15, 2019
If you were injured while on a rental property, it may be harder than you think to get compensation. The difficulties in getting compensation boil down to the issue of liability. Who was at fault? Was the property owner (landlord) responsible, or was the person occupying the property responsible? Were you a tenant or someone visiting a rental property?
These are all important considerations in a premises liability case related to a rental property. Let’s look a bit closer at these factors.
Generally speaking, the occupier of a property will be liable for injuries that occur on the property, at least to some extent. As a commercial or residential tenant, the occupier is generally viewed as being in control of the property. A tenant who is in control of the property has a duty to monitor and maintain the premises within the scope of a rental contract.
- However, a property owner can also be held liable for injuries in the following circumstances:
- Injuries occurring on part of the property only controlled by the owner.
- Injuries occurring due to hazards or dangers present when the property was rented, but not disclosed to the occupier.
- Injuries that occur as a result of the owner being notified of hazards per a rental agreement, but failing to correct the hazard.
Essentially, if an injury occurs as a result of the occupiers actions, behavior, or failure to meet the provisions of the rental agreement, then he or she can be held responsible for injuries that occur as a result. For example, if a tenant has a family gathering and someone is injured due to a spill in the kitchen, the tenant would be responsible, as the cause of the accident was outside the landlord’s control.
However, if an injury occurs as a result of a hazard caused by poor maintenance, poor security, renting a property with a known hazard, or an owner’s acts or omissions, then the owner can be held responsible.
A Landlord’s Duty to Tenants
Now, consider that you are a tenant and were injured. Will your landlord be responsible? The answer depends on whether or not your landlord was negligent or breached his or her duty of care to you. To find out, consider the following:
- What is a duty of care? – A landlord has a duty of care to maintain a safe property for tenants. That means ensuring that the property is free from hazards, or identifying hazards and warning tenants prior to their moving in. Landlords also have a duty to ensure that public or common areas are free from hazards.
- When is the duty of care breached? – A landlord may breach his or her duty of care to a tenant by failing to disclose a hazard, or failing to repair a hazard that is reported. Similarly, if the landlord makes repairs but his or her workmanship causes the tenant’s injuries, then the landlord has breached his or her duty.
- The foreseeability test – The foreseeability test is a legal term that refers to whether a landlord should have foreseen consequences that could result from his or her acts or omissions. For example, a tenant reports black mold in the home, and the landlord promises remediation. The landlord fails to remediate the problem, and the tenant develops a respiratory illness as a result. The landlord should have foreseen the danger, and his or her neglecting remediation caused the illness to develop.
- What about criminal acts? – Landlords can be held responsible for criminal acts if they were reasonably foreseeable. For example, if the landlord rents a property that does not have new, working locks and deadbolts, he or she can be held responsible if an intruder breaks in. Landlords can also be held responsible for physical assaults that happen in parking areas or outdoor common areas that are improperly lit, or do not have adequate security to deter crime.
Determining Who is Responsible
As you can see, determining who is responsible for injuries on rental properties can be quite a process. You must consider where the injury occurred, the cause, and who was responsible for circumstances directly related. The best way to do this is by contacting a premises liability lawyer to discuss your case.
At The Dixon Firm, P.C. we handle all sorts of premises liability cases, including those involving rental properties. Whether you suffered an injury as a result of poor maintenance, negligent security, or a landlord’s failure to correct a hazard, we can help. Our team of personal injury lawyers will thoroughly investigate your injury case and determine who was at fault, and how best to get you the compensation you deserve.