Most landlords try to make their rental properties as attractive to new tenants as possible. After all, they want to be able to charge the highest rents and attract the best tenants possible. Obviously, this includes making the property as safe as possible.
But accidents happen. And when a tenant is injured on a landlord’s property, questions about who’s liable, and how do you prove it, can be rather complicated.
Of course, a landlord isn’t liable for all injuries that occur on their property. So how do you know when injuries are a landlord’s fault? Under premises liability generally, property owners have a responsibility to maintain a relatively safe environment so that people who come onto the property don’t suffer an injury. For landlords specifically, they must maintain the safety of the property and provide tenants with reasonable protection from criminals.
Landlords can also be liable for injuries to visitors to the property, although they may share that liability with tenants for injuries caused by dangerous conditions in areas under the tenant’s control. Finally, landlords might be on the hook for injuries to trespassers as well, if the injuries are caused by artificial conditions on property that a landlord failed to properly warn about or protect against, like a child drowning in a pool that hasn’t been fenced in.
If a tenant thinks an injury is their landlord’s fault, how do they prove it? An injured tenant must demonstrate that the landlord was negligent in maintaining the safety of the property, and there are four elements to a standard negligence claim:
Duty: The landlord owed you a legal duty to use reasonable care to maintain the property (generally presumed under premises liability);
Breach: The landlord breached that duty by creating or failing to remedy a dangerous condition;
Causation: It was the landlord’s breach that actually caused the tenant’s injuries (and not some other intervening cause); and
Damages: You were injured and can be compensated for those injuries.
In order prove landlord negligence, you will need to be able to prove all four elements. For help with an injury claim against a landlord, or for help defending a tenant’s injury claim, consult with an experienced injury attorney.