What if a tenant is injured on my rental property? 

If a tenant or their guest is injured on a rental property is the property owner liable?

The most common way a landlord can be held liable for a tenant injury is if the injury was caused by a maintenance problem on the rental property that the landlord was aware of, but neglected to fix.  However, there must be sufficient evidence to prove:

a)      The landlord knew about the problem for a period of time

b)      The landlord did not take any sort of action to fix the problem

c)       The problem would not have been overly expensive to fix

d)      The tenant was legitimately injured.

A landlord can be held liable if he/she was unaware of the problem due to lack of routine inspections.  For example, if there is an electrical wiring issue that the lanlord is unaware of and a tenant gets electrocuted, the landlord is liable.  Even though the rental property owner was unaware of the issue, they are expected to make routine inspections of their rental properties and are responsible for any injuries resulting from their neglect in maintenance.  

Criminal acts against a tenant

Landlords are some what responsible for the safety of their tenants; this includes protecting them from outside criminals. 

The liability of the property owner mostly depends on the context of the situation.  For example, if the property has had a past history of break ins, assaults, or other criminal acts, there is a higher chance that the landlord would be responsible.  Luckily for landlords, there are steps that can be taken to prevent criminal acts of non tenants to avoid liability. 

First and foremost, make certain your rental property is within State guidelines and regulations of home security. Prevention is the best method: install dead bolt locks on doors and locks for all windows.  If your rental property is in a dangerous neighborhood, disclose this to your tenants and take the additional precautions.  Another method is to install motion sensor lights or start a community watch in the neighborhood.  The more steps a landlord has taken to ensure the safety of the tenants, the less likely they would be liable for any law suit that may arise.


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