cases arise, in part, after thousands of Florida residents come home to apartment complexes, duplexes, and rented houses every evening, trusting they will be able to relax in a safe place away from the hustle and bustle of the outside world – but are mistaken.
But when landlords fail to maintain a safe property, their tenants’ homes cease to be safe places, transforming into hazard zones where accidents are likely. Below, we have listed some of the most common causes of accidents, and premises liability claims, in apartments and rented homes. These also apply to commercial and retail premises:
Inadequate lighting. Landlords and property managers have a responsibility to provide adequate lighting in hallways, stairwells, parking lots, and common walkways. When these heavily trafficked areas are insufficiently lit, tenants and visitors are likely to need an experienced premises liability lawyer, and are made into more vulnerable targets for crime – potentially giving way to a negligent-security claim. If lights break or malfunction, management should promptly fix them.
Slippery walkways. Snow and ice may be rare in Florida, but water and other liquids can still make walkways slippery and hazardous—particularly for older tenants. Water that accumulates without proper drainage can also attract oils and other liquid run off from automobiles, cleaning solvents and create needlessly slippery floors.
Elevator Injury. Elevators must be regularly inspected and properly maintained. Improperly maintained elevators may begin to stop uneven with its intended landing (sometimes by only an inch or two, called “misleveling”) creating a tripping hazard. An elevator-door sensor may result in a door slamming shut and causing injuries. Or a sudden unexpected drop of the elevator car, may result in an elevator-related injury as well.
Unmaintained staircases. Staircases are one of the most common areas where accidents occur and the risk of accident only increases when a landlord neglects to maintain them. Trip and fall accidents become more likely on staircases with loose handrails, buckling wood or worn carpeting.
Unmaintained walkways. Building owners are responsible for maintaining walkways, which means repairing loose floorboards, exposed nails, and other hazardous obstacles.
Electric shock. Malfunctioning sockets and frayed wire insulation can deliver an electrical shock to residents, resulting in severe burns and sometimes fatal injuries.
Negligent security. Landlords have a responsibility to provide adequate security for their tenants and visitors, including secure locks, adequate lighting, sturdy fencing, and security cameras. The responsibility of a owner or property manager increases depending on whether the area has a history of crime.
Hazardous playground equipment. If there is a playground in your apartment complex, your landlord has a responsibility to keep the equipment and surroundings safe and sanitary. That means fixing broken equipment and sharp edges—all of which can cause serious injuries to young children.
State housing violations. State law requires landlords to comply with basic rules regarding fire safety, pest control, and sewage disposal. Failure to abide by general health and safety standards can result in serious injuries and illness among tenants and visitors.
These are only a few examples of the many different types of accidents that can happen in a home or apartment building due to a landlord’s negligence. Additional examples of the types of conditions that can cause slip and falls are discussed at this link. Florida landlords have a duty to keep properties reasonably safe and warn residents of hazards. When they fail to live up to this standard, they should be held accountable for any resulting injury.
However, holding a landlord liable for an injury on their property is not always a simple task. In order to hold a landlord responsible for an accident or injury, you must demonstrate the following:
As a tenant, you are legally entitled to a rental property that is in good condition and complies with basic safety, structural, building code and safety standards. If you have been injured in an apartment complex, duplex, or other rented property, you should consult with a local personal injury lawyer immediately.