When someone rents a house or an apartment they are entitled to a degree of safety in their home. Property owners who fail to keep up standards of safety and security on the properties they own and rent to tenants over a long period of time are frequently referred to as slum lords. Slum lords are notorious for collecting rent but putting no money back into the buildings they own. As such, the buildings fall into disrepair and the property owner does nothing to improve upon the dilapidated conditions. Residents can become injured or attacked as a result of a slum lord’s negligence and failure to keep up with the maintenance on a property.
Some slum lords are negligent by failing to provide adequate security for residents. This includes failure to repair a broken gate that would keep non-residents away from the property, or failure to provide adequate lighting around the property. There was a case recently in New York where a woman was assaulted after her landlord failed to repair her broken door locks. She had repeatedly requested the repairs be performed, and her landlord did not do so. Due to the landlord’s negligence, an attacker was able to gain access to her home.
In the case mentioned above, the landlord failed to provide adequate security for his residents by failing to keep the apartment unit safe and secured. What is critical in the case above is the tenant repeatedly requested that her locks be fixed and/or repaired. Landlords are considered negligent when they fail to repair or maintain parts of the apartment unit or apartment complex that are vital to safety and security. Another way that a landlord can fail to keep residents safe is to fail to repair dangerous conditions around the property.
Landlords must repair faulty stoves, furnaces or appliances. Failure to provide upkeep and repair to these items can cause serious injuries to tenants if the appliance or fixture fails to work, or if it malfunctions and creates a fire or an electrical danger. Other examples can include a leaky gas stove, a furnace that needs cleaning, exposed wiring, and structural damage. If a landlord is aware of a dangerous condition on the property and refuses to repair it, the landlord can be held responsible for any damages that occur as the result of the malfunction.
Some examples of failing to keep a property safe include broken or damaged railings that give way, or stairways that collapse. The potential for a serious injury is very high in a situation like this. Residents could face a broken bone, head injury, or neck or back injury as the result of a fall due to these dangerous conditions.
Another way that landlords have a responsibility to keep tenants safe is to ensure that any employee who has access to the property does not have a history of violence or sexual aggression. Landlords should perform background checks on anyone would has access to the residents, such as a maintenance worker, or an office worker who has access to the residents’ homes. If a resident is attacked by an employee who has a documented violent past, a landlord can be held responsible for not taking the proper steps to make sure any employees hired are not a danger to residents.
A landlord or property owner has a duty to keep the premises safe and secure, and is responsible for repairing any security related problem. Failure to do so can cause tenants to become injured or attacked. In the event that this situation occurs, a landlord can be held responsible for damages incurred as a result of his or her negligence.
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