Landlords are responsible for taking care of many aspects when it comes to owning a rental property, but are they liable if someone gets hurt on their property?
Accidents happen, but sometimes they can be avoided. If a tenant gets hurt on a landlord’s rental property, the landlord could be held liable.
However, this isn’t always the case!
Figuring out what happens if someone gets hurt on your rental property isn’t as straightforward as you may have hoped. As with anything that involves insurance companies and the law, there are contingencies and protocols to consider before holding anyone liable.
For example, most injuries that take place inside an apartment are not the landlord’s fault. However, the landlord is usually liable for injuries that happen in the common areas of the building.
In this article, we will explore what could happen if a tenant gets hurt on your rental property and how to prevent being held liable.
Can Landlords Be Held Liable for Injuries?
Yes, landlords can be held liable for injuries to tenants, and sometimes even guests, that happen on their rental property.
Don’t let this scare you from becoming a landlord, though. There are certain criteria that must be met in order to hold a landlord liable for the injury and damages caused to the tenant.
When Is a Landlord Liable If a Tenant Gets Hurt?
Just because a tenant suffers an injury on a rental property does not necessarily mean that the owner of the property is at fault.
Overall, if a tenant is injured due to the negligence of the landlord, then the landlord is likely at fault and will be held liable.
Below are some reasons why a landlord may be found liable for an injury experienced by a tenant or guest on their property.
Things happen to a building and its surrounding property. Things break, such as steps; or the sidewalk cracks, creating a potentially dangerous situation that could cause injury to tenants.
If the tenant notifies the landlord of the issue and the landlord neglects to repair it and the tenant becomes injured due to the neglected repair, the landlord can be held liable.
Many landlords and property management companies promise to give maintenance issues attention within 24 to 48 hours. If a contractor or company has been scheduled to make the repair next week, the landlord should not be held liable for injuries.
However, if the repairs are delayed by weeks or months, then liability may be placed on the owner or manager.
Lack of Protective Measures
Let’s stay on the topic of a repair that must be made to prevent a tenant from being injured. For this example, we’ll use a broken step.
When the landlord calls a contractor to make the repair, the contractor can’t come out to do it for two weeks.
It is now the landlord’s responsibility to take protective measures to prevent injury. This could be as simple as blocking off the step or putting up a sign to warn the tenant and their guests of the danger.
Hidden Dangers on the Property
If a landlord knowingly hides dangers present on the rental property from tenants that eventually cause injury, they will be held liable.
Any and all dangerous situations present on the property must be disclosed by the owner to the property manager and tenant.
For example, if the landlord knows there is a toxic substance present on the property that could cause illness, but doesn’t disclose it, they could be held liable.
Refusal to Prevent Criminal Acts
In some cases, a landlord may be found liable for injury to a tenant due to criminal acts.
Let’s take a look at this example. A tenant has experienced a mugging while trying to get inside the building and requested that the landlord install motion-activated lights outside. The landlord failed to install these lights, and a few months later, the tenant is mugged again.
The landlord can be held liable for the damage and injury caused by the criminal due to the lack of preventative measures.
Landlord vs. Property Manager: Who is Liable?
Many landlords choose to hire professional property management companies to manage their properties so that they can focus on other aspects of their lives and businesses.
However, who is then held responsible if a tenant gets hurt – the owner or the property manager?
As a landlord, it’s important to carefully read the property management contract to determine who is responsible in this situation.
Usually, the property management company would claim responsibility, as it is their job to make the property safe and habitable for tenants.
What Happens if Someone Gets Hurt on a Rental Property?
So, what exactly happens if a tenant gets hurt on a rental property?
If the tenant decides to sue the landlord or property manager for their injuries, the parties must go to court. The insurance company and lawyers will review the case, examine the evidence, and determine who is responsible for the tenant’s injury.
Keep in mind that Arizona state law requires landlords to maintain a safe property in good working order for tenants to live. This will be considered during the court proceedings.
Does Landlord Insurance Cover Liability?
Some landlord insurance policies have liability coverage. So, if a landlord is found liable for an injury and must pay the tenant’s medical bills, they can submit a claim to their insurance company for assistance.
Prevent Tenant Injury While Protecting Yourself and Your Investment
Most landlords in Phoenix choose to hire a professional property management company, like Brewer & Stratton Property Management, to take care of all their rental property needs.
Whether it’s collecting rent, acquiring tenants, or ensuring the property is safe and in good working order for tenants to live, Brewer & Stratton works to protect both landlords and tenants.
Brewer & Stratton is here to make owning a rental property in Phoenix easy and seamless, without worrying about tenants suing you for injuries.
Request a FREE rental analysis today to see how much rent you can get for your Phoenix property.