Is Your Landlord Responsible for Any Injuries Sustained On Their Property?
A landlord-tenant relationship is a delicate one, and if the right balance of respect is not struck, it can become a tumultuous one fairly quickly. As a tenant, it is your job to pay your bills on time, keep the house in a clean and sanitary state, treat the house with respect (i.e. do not break things or cause unnecessary damage to the premises), and get along with your neighbors. It is your landlord’s responsibility to maintain the home and its premises, and to fix any issues that should arise in a timely fashion. If you fail to uphold your end of the agreement, you risk getting kicked out of your rental home; however, if your landlord fails to uphold their end of the agreement, they could face serious charges, especially if you or someone in the home were to get hurt as a result of your landlord’s negligence.
A Landlord is Liable When They Commit Negligence Per Se
Negligence per se occurs when a landlord fails to adhere to a law put in place specifically to protect tenants or the public. When negligence per se occurs, the tenant need no other proof than to show that the landlord violated the law, that the law in question was put in place to protect tenants and the public, and that the violation resulted in an injury.
For example, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, all homes below sea elevation and in coastal high hazard areas in Florida must have breakaway walls on their base level. Breakaway walls are designed to keep the integrity of the home intact in the event of a tidal wave, unusually high tide, or tsunami. The base level must only be used for parking, building access, or storage. There must be no electricity in any of the walls, and no habitation may occur on that base level.
If a homeowner should decide against installing breakaway walls on the base level of their home, and then decide to rent out their home for the summer, they are failing to adhere to the “standard of care” set forth for all Florida landlords. If a tsunami should occur while the home is being rented out, and the foundation of the home should collapse while the tenants are inside – thereby severely injuring or even killing one or more individuals – the landlord would be liable for the sole fact that they failed to adhere to a law designed to protect tenants and the public.
When is a Landlord Liable for Injuries?
Outside of negligence per se, a landlord may be responsible for injuries accrued on his or her property only when they failed to exercise reasonable care, and if the event that caused the injury were foreseeable. What this means is that a landlord is liable for a tenant’s injury if they fail to maintain safe conditions on his or her rental property, and if the cause of the injury was one that the landlord could have foreseen happening as a result of his or her negligence.
However, if the hazardous area of the home were to become hazardous while the tenant was living there, it is the tenant’s duty to contact the landlord about fixing the issue. If the landlord does not respond within a reasonable amount of time, and after a reasonable number of attempts on the tenant’s part, then they may become liable for injuries that result.
What Kind of Damages Can a Tenant Receive from Their Landlord?
If you were to get injured on your rental property, and if you can prove that your landlord is liable for the injuries sustained, you may be awarded one or more of the following damages:
- Medical bills;
- Lost wages;
- Pain and suffering;
- Emotional distress; and
- Personal property damage.
When to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer
At The Pendas Law Firm, we know the ins-and-outs of premises liability and personal injury law. If you, a loved one, or a visitor was injured while on your rental property, and the injury was a result of your landlord’s negligence, you may have a personal injury lawsuit on your hands. To speak with a personal injury lawyer today about your case, contact The Pendas Law Firm at 1-888-LPENDAS or online to schedule your consultation today.
Our firm serves clients throughout Orlando, Tampa, Fort Myers, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale & Miami.