Like so many other questions that involve the law, this is not so straightforward. The answer, however, is yes. Under the right conditions, you are allowed to sue your landlord for negligence. Each state has an implied warranty of habitability. This includes, among other things, the responsibility of a landlord to provide his tenants with a safe place to reside. Nonetheless, in order for a landlord to be held responsible for a condition, they must be aware of it. With that in mind, let’s explore the question of landlord negligence and liability.
Have You Sustained Injuries on a Rental Property?
In certain situations, the landlord can be held responsible. That entitles you to recover damages for your injuries. If you’ve been injured due to a landlord’s negligence, contact the personal injury attorneys at Russell & Lazarus APC for a free consultation to discuss your situation.
Understanding Negligence in Landlord Liability Lawsuits
Each state has different laws concerning both rental agreements and tort or injury law. California is very renter-friendly. Landlords have obligations to tenants who pay them handsomely to live on their property. It is their duty to ensure that the property is up to code and does not present a danger to those living on the premises. In addition, landlords must disclose information concerning lead paint and ensure that the tenants understand their rights.
If there is a problem on a property that you’re renting, you should notify the landlord immediately. You should do this in writing either by email, regular mail, or text. This is for the purpose of putting the landlord on notice that there is a problem on the premises.
Premises liability rules generally are all very similar. In order to prove that the property owner or the individual responsible for managing the property is liable, you must prove one of three things. They:
- Caused the dangerous condition
- Were aware of the dangerous condition
- Should have been aware of the dangerous condition
When you can prove one of those three is true, you will win the majority of premises liability lawsuits. So if there is a dangerous condition on the premises, make sure the landlord is aware of it. It is their duty to do something about it.
A Child Falls From a Balcony That Has a Broken Railing
This is an actual case that actually happened. There was a broken railing on a second story balcony. A child leaned on the railing and the railing gave way, sending the child falling to the ground. The child sustained serious injuries. The parents sued. They lost their case. Why?
There was one element that was never satisfied. They never informed the landlord that the railing was a danger. The element of foreseeability was therefore not satisfied. Their own negligence in not fixing the railing themselves, asking the landlord to fix it, and watching their child was more directly responsible for their child’s injuries than landlord negligence.
Now, let’s tweak one element of this case. Let’s say that the parents asked the landlord to fix the railing and the child fell. It could then be argued that the danger was foreseeable and the landlord is responsible.
Here’s a different tweak. Let’s say that the parents rented the apartment without knowing there was a problem with the railing. The child leans on the railing and then falls down sustaining serious injuries. In that case, a good lawyer can argue that the landlord should have known that the danger was there and rented an apartment to parents with small children without doing an adequate safety inspection beforehand.
Small details like these are the difference between winning and losing cases against landlords.
Contact Russell & Lazarus APC for a Consultation
It’s important to understand that there are a number of elements that go into a personal injury lawsuit of this kind. Even if you did not inform the landlord of a specific problem, there may be a building code violation that obligates the landlord under certain circumstances. If you or someone in your family has been injured, do not hesitate to give us a call or contact us online. We can help determine if it’s worth your time to file a lawsuit for landlord negligence.