Even though landlords are responsible for keeping the property you lease safe for living or work, there are times when they either don’t take this responsibility seriously or they make a mistake that leads to an injury. But, it can be challenging for tenants to prove landlord liability because the standard for negligence is fairly high.
The reason for this is that if landlords were liable for every single injury that occurs on rental properties every year, no one would ever want to be a landlord. The courts have to strike a balance when ruling on landlord liability to allow them to do their jobs well.
What Is Negligence?
Before you can prove your landlord’s negligence led to an injury, you have to understand what negligence actually is. Legally, negligence occurs either from commission or omission to act. In other words, if your landlord’s actions caused an unsafe situation or if their failure to remedy a known unsafe situation that directly led to the injury, you may have a case for negligence.
If, however, the landlord took appropriate action to maintain the property and prevent an injury or were unknowingly violating their responsibilities to create a safe property, your case may not be strong enough to win in a court of law.
For example, if you have faulty wiring in your kitchen and you notify your landlord of the unsafe situation, but the landlord does not act to repair the wiring, they may be considered negligent if you are injured as a result of the electric system after you have notified them. The landlord may also be liable if they repair the wires, but don’t do it correctly so that an injury still occurs. Premises liability law states that they are responsible for ensuring the problem is fixed correctly.
However, if a heavy rain causes your apartment to leak, a situation that has never happened before, and you slip and fall on a wet floor, sustaining an injury, your landlord may not be liable because they had no knowledge of this particular unsafe situation. They would likely be liable, though, if they did not fix the issue for future heavy rains.
Now that you know the meaning of negligence, you can move on to how you can prove your landlord was negligent (if indeed they were). You must prove that your injury is the result of your landlord’s carelessness and not your own.
To do this, you’ll have to demonstrate they broke a law related to safety, and that the landlord had a duty of care to protect tenants. Furthermore, one must prove that an injury to a tenant was the type of injury the law was put in place to prevent, and that the landlord was negligent in breaking the law.
As you can see, it’s not easy to prove landlord negligence, and if you attempt to do it on your own, the chances are high that you’ll fail. Your landlord is probably going to have an experienced defense attorney at their disposal, so you’ll want to have an equally experienced injury attorney at yours.
Not all injuries that occur on a leased property are the responsibility of the landlord, but if they have been negligent in their duty to keep their tenants safe, they could be found liable for injuries in a court of law. Consult with an accident attorney to understand your rights and determine whether your injuries are the result of negligence. If so, you may be entitled to compensation.