If your landlord knows the banister is loose but doesn’t repair it and you sustain an injury, he may be liable. But what if you have reported the lights are out in the walkway to your apartment, your landlord fails to replace the bulbs, and you get injured by a criminal third party? The landlord could be liable for that, too.
The law requires property owners to ensure that their premises are safe. Failure to reasonably fulfill that legal duty is negligence. However, since each case is unique, a thorough review of the facts is necessary.
To establish negligence, several factors have to be in your favor. First, a landlord must control the area where the accident took place. He must know about the problem, see that it is likely to cause an injury and fail to do anything about it. Proving negligence may take into account the cost of correcting the problem, as well. If there is an inexpensive and simple fix but the landlord ignores it and someone gets hurt, he is probably negligent.
Negligence per se
If a landlord breaks a law that is in place to protect tenants and you sustain an injury due to his breaking that law, that is an example of negligence per se. In that case, the court will automatically conclude that the landlord was negligent.
As a tenant, you have the right to a safe rental property and to timely repairs. Your landlord has the duty to reasonably maintain the property. If you sustain an injury due to landlord negligence, you have the right to recover damages. Know your tenant rights, and hold your landlord responsible.