Are Landlords Liable for Tenant’s Injuries?

October 20, 2021

One of the most common hazards in a rental property are broken or uneven stairs. For example, say you have an uneven step and your tenants falls and breaks their leg. Whose at fault? Can landlords be held responsible for their tenant’s injuries? To answer your question, it’s very likely you could be held liable for their injuries. You may even have to pay for their medical bills and legal costs if they ended up suing you.

However, not all injuries are your fault. It’s important you know exactly what you can be liable for. Here are some examples of the injuries property owners are accountable for.

When Are Landlords Liable for Tenant Injuries?

Improper Maintenance

It’s very important that landlords maintain their property regularly. Every house demands routine maintenance and upkeep and if you don’t, you might end up in an undesirable situation.

If you fail to fix a broken railing or an uneven step, you could be held liable if your tenant gets injured. If you own a multi-unit complex, then you must be very vigilant with your maintenance since you have multiple tenants you’re responsible for.

Ultimately, it’s important to keep up with your property and perform routine maintenance. As a result, your property will be a much safer place and you can avoid the headache of a lawsuit.

Failure to Fix a Problem

If there’s a structural issue that demands immediate attention, it’s best that you address it quickly. Failure to do so might result in a liability claim on your part. If you know that something can be dangerous, you must fix it promptly and warn your tenant in the meantime. If you don’t address a problem quickly and your tenant gets hurt and decides to sue, you would be liable.

For example, if a tenant informs you of a potential danger then it’s your responsibility to address the issue. Failing to do so might put your tenant’s safety in jeopardy.

Even if you do fix the problem, if you failed to address it in a timely manner and your tenant gets injured in the meantime, you can still be held responsible.

Criminal Activity

If the property has a history of crime then you must inform your tenant and take the necessary precautions. Not informing them or making the necessary safety improvements can result in your tenant being injured.

For example, say the home has been broken into in the past, you must make the tenant aware of it and take measures to prevent it from happening again. Failing to do so can result in your tenant being injured and suing you.

Laws Violations

All landlords must adhere to basic safety laws for their property. If they do not adhere to them and their home is not up to standards, they might put their tenant in harm’s way.

For example, you need to keep your home up to code. Say you have some exposed wiring that causes a fire and harms your tenant, you would be liable in this case.

When Aren’t Landlords Liable?

A landlord won’t be liable for injuries a tenant causes themselves. For example, say the tenant forgot to tie their shoe and fell down the stairs. The landlord wouldn’t be responsible for this accident since it’s the tenants fault.

Summing Up

These are some of the most common instances where property owners are penalized for their tenant’s injuries. As a landlord, if you want to avoid the headache of a lawsuit, you have to make sure your property’s a safe place.

In order to protect yourself from a liability claim, make sure you have rental property insurance. This will protect you in many cases against vandalism, theft, tenant injuries, loss of income, etc. 

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