You may wonder whether your landlord is responsible for the harm and loss you have suffered. They may be if you were injured in an accident caused by a dangerous or defective rental property condition. Landlords typically do not have liability for injuries their tenants suffer in their rentals. This is because tenants largely have control over their leased premises. However, a landlord may be responsible for an accident that caused you injury when the accident resulted from your landlord’s negligence. Here’s how to prove your landlord’s responsibility for the accident you suffered in your rental.

When Can a Landlord Be Held Liable for a Tenant’s Injuries?

A landlord can be held liable when a tenant is injured in their leased premises under certain circumstances, including:

  • The landlord had control over the condition that caused the tenant’s injury. – Generally, landlords will only be held liable for injuries suffered by tenants whose injury occurred due to a condition the landlord had control over. Tenants are usually given substantial or complete control over the condition of leased premises. However, if a tenant is injured in the common area of a property, a landlord can be held responsible since common areas remain under the landlord’s control.
  • The landlord concealed knowledge of the leased premises’ dangerous or defective condition. – Even if a tenant is supposed to control a condition, a landlord may be liable for a tenant’s injury. That happens when the landlord fails to disclose that the premises contained a concealed or non-obvious condition that caused the tenant’s injury.
  • The landlord had a feasible opportunity to reduce the risk of injury. – Landlords may also be held liable for tenant injuries that could have been prevented by simple, low-cost actions that the landlord could have taken. This is especially true when the landlord had possession of the premises before it was rented.
  • The condition created a serious likelihood of injury. Finally, landlords may be held liable for tenant injuries caused by unreasonably dangerous conditions that pose a risk of serious injury. This is true even when the premises have been leased to and placed in the tenant’s control. For example, a leaking gas line or a raised porch with support beams at imminent risk of failure. A landlord should correct those conditions. They should have knowledge of such conditions.

Evidence That Can Be Used to Prove Landlord’s Responsibility

Examples of the types of evidence that may be used in a tenant’s personal injury claim against their landlord include:

  • Accident scene photos or video. Particularly when they show the dangerous or hazardous nature of the condition that caused the tenant’s injury.
  • Expert testimony that can provide opinions regarding a landlord’s legal duties under state or local law. The feasibility of corrective actions the landlord could have taken. How could they have reduced the risk of injury?
  • The lease between the landlord and tenant can show that the landlord had control over the condition that caused the tenant’s injury.

Landlord Liability for Violating State Laws and Local Ordinances

Finally, a tenant might prove their landlord’s liability for injuries they suffered if the landlord violated state law or local ordinances. Where that happens, a tenant injured by a dangerous property condition might pursue a claim of negligence per se.

Under this type of claim, negligence is presumed due to a party’s violation of the law. Courts may choose to impose liability upon a landlord for a tenant’s injury where the landlord violated an ordinance that governs the safety of the rental property. This is true if the tenant suffered the type of injury the law or ordinance was supposed to prevent. Additionally it must be shown that the landlord’s actions or inaction caused the tenant to suffer injury.

For example, if a tenant is injured by a fire when they could have safely evacuated if a smoke/fire detector had warned them. The landlord may be liable if state regulations or local ordinances require landlords to install such equipment.

Contact Us Today If A Hazardous Condition Injured you in Your Rental

Call Gibson Hill Personal Injury at 512-580-8334 or use our website contact form for a free, no-obligation consultation. If you suffered injuries in an accident caused by a defective or hazardous condition in your rental, you may be entitled to compensation. We can discuss how our firm can help you pursue financial recovery from your landlord when they bear responsibility for your injuries and losses.

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