Is My Landlord Liable For An Injury?
Many people trip and fall on a landlord’s property and have no idea that their landlord may have violated his or her duties and obligations to the tenant by failing to keep the property in good repair. The following article will help you understand whether you may have a right to sue your landlord for an injury that occurred on their property.
In Pennsylvania and New Jersey, the answer to the question of who is responsible for an injury in a rented home or apartment depends on several factors. The most important factor is the lease, and whether the lease states that it is the landlord’s responsibility or the tenant’s responsibility to maintain the portion of the property where the accident occurred. Typically, landlords are responsible for the common areas of a property, such as a shared stairwell or sidewalk outside the property. A Landlord’s duty also depends on why you are at the property at the time of the injury. Once you are able to determine that the landlord was responsible for the maintenance of the property, several other elements must be proven in order to maintain a lawsuit.
First, you have to prove that the landlord either knew, or should have known, that the property was in a dangerous condition and that the landlord failed to take reasonable steps to fix the problem. Second, you must show that fixing the dangerous condition would not be unreasonable expensive or difficult. Third, you must be able to demonstrate that your injury was the probably consequence of not fixing the dangerous condition. Fourth, you must show that the landlord’s failure to fix the dangerous condition caused your injury.
For example, if you have been telling your landlord that the steps to your rented home or apartment are broken and you then trip and fall down on the broken step, you would be able to satisfy the first two requirements of the law because your landlord knew of the issue, and it would not be difficult to fix or replace a broken step. Importantly, notice of a defect may also exist if the defect is open and obvious. A landlord would have what is called “constructive notice” if the landlord could have discovered the defect after a reasonable investigation. The probable result of a broken step is that someone could fall and become seriously injured. Lastly, you must show that defect, in this case the broken step, caused the injury.
Often times, individuals in large apartment buildings are hurt in common areas such as lobbies, balconies and steps that the landlord has failed to maintain. In this scenario, people usually trip and fall on broken tiles, torn rugs, or floors that are wet due to water leaking from the roof.
Here at Freundlich & Littman, LLC, we have represented numerous tenants who have been hurt or injured as a result of the landlord’s failure to maintain the property. If you have been hurt or injured in a rental property, please contact us for a free consultation and we will be happy to sit down with you and discuss whether you have the right to sue. If you would like to read more about premises liability issues, please click here.
We can be reached at (215) 545-8500 or at info@FreundlichandLittman.com.