A recent case is a reminder that as a result tragic accident in a rental property, a Landlord could be found liable if the Landlord is on notice of a tenant’s potential criminal conduct. In this case a second floor tenant fired a rifle through the floor killing the first floor tenant in her bed. The estate sued the Landlord claiming the Landlord was negligent letting the second floor tenants live there.
The Court did not find a duty in the Landlord to take action against the second floor tenants who had not committed any prior acts of violence. The legal standard is that for the Landlord to be liable for negligent conduct she must have failed to discharge a duty of care owed to the victim, harm must have been reasonably foreseeable, and the negligence must be the proximate or legal cause of the victim’s injury.
The general rule in Tort Law is that Landlords owe a duty of reasonable care to tenants and lawful entrants regarding premises that the Landlord controls. It is a reminder that Landlords should take that duty seriously.
If you are in need of an experienced real estate attorney to assist with you landlord tenant issue, please contact our law office for a case evaluation.