Property owners have many responsibilities when it comes to the maintenance and upkeep of their property. In addition to making sure all reasonable repairs are made, they are legally responsible for providing their tenants with a safe and secure environment to live in. Failure to do so can leave the property owner liable for any harm that comes to those lawfully on the property, including but not limited to tenants.
In some instances, criminal acts can even occur on the property due to the negligence of the landlord. Based on this, a property owner can be held responsible for criminal acts on their property if the property owner’s conduct falls into one of the following categories:
Failure to Meet Security Laws
If a building does not meet state and local security laws, a landlord can be held accountable for criminal activity. This can range from providing proper and secure locks and deadbolts to ensuring that there are fire escapes and other alarms in the building.
As long as they adhere to these state laws, a landlord can ensure that their role in the criminal act is minimal. If the building fails to meet these security laws, the landlord can be held accountable for the injuries a person suffers at the hands of a criminal who comes onto the property.
Failure in Implementing Safety Precautions
Safety precautions must be implemented that make the building an undesirable place for criminal activities to occur. For example: Proper lighting, security camera monitors and having security personnel patrol the property can all help to deter crime on the property. These all cut down the chances of anything going awry at the hands of a criminal.
If these safety precautions are not in place, the landlord can be held liable for any personal injury resulting from criminal activity that takes place on the property.
Allowing Conduct of Criminal Activities
Whether it is in an apartment, or in a hallway or in the parking lot of an apartment complex, a landlord who allows the criminal activity to be conducted at their property can be held responsible for any injuries resulting from the criminal activity. These activities include drug dealing, and can have heavy consequences attached to them. The landlord can not only be held accountable for these activities with a fine or even jail time; their rental property might lose value and they might also lose their property through a court judgment or ac This shows deliberate misconduct on the landlord’s part, and can possibly support a claim for punitive damages against the landlord filed by a Premises Liability Lawyer taken by the government.
Handling Complaints Swiftly
In some instances, landlords are notified by their tenants when something untoward is happening. Responding to these complaints swiftly is the landlord’s responsibility. While it is not always possible to respond promptly to each complaint, if the complaint involves the security of the complex, the safety of the tenants, or some criminal activity that is taking place on the property, the response of the landlord will definitely be scrutinized. If there is evidence that the landlord had been notified of a problem multiple times in the past and failed to respond appropriately to try to fix the problem, this evidence can be very damaging to the landlord. This shows deliberate misconduct on the landlord’s part, and can possibly support a claim for punitive damages against the landlord. This shows deliberate misconduct on the landlord’s part, and can possibly support a claim for punitive damages against the landlord filed by a Premises Liability Lawyer.
While there used to be more leniency extended towards landlords in the past, there are no such exceptions made today. With the advent of various methods such as screening of tenants and other security measures, there are little excuses left as to why a landlord would be oblivious of criminal activities being conducted on their property.