Answer: A landlord has responsibilities to those who come onto his or her property. This includes keeping the property in sound physical condition, which means maintaining walkways, stairways, bricks, etc.; informing others of hazards on the property; and ensuring that any such hazards are kept as safe as possible.
For instance, if a homeowner has a jacuzzi tub in the backyard, this is called an "attractive nuisance." Neighborhood children would not understand the danger associated with this device and likely would want to play in it. The homeowner should anticipate this and do what he or she can to mitigate that danger, which would include covers, locks, alarms and fencing.
Both homeowners and business owners have responsibilities to invitees, licensees and even trespassers.
- Invitees: These are given implied or express invitations by the owner for some mutual benefit or for something to be conducted on the property.
- Licensees: This person is licensed to remain on a property with the owner's consent. The owner has a duty to warn of any dangers known to the owner but not to the licensee.
- Trespassers: A trespasser enters onto a landowner's property for his own advantage and purpose, without the landowner's permission or knowledge. The landowner owes a duty not to injure or cause injury to the trespasser. However, he's not under a duty to keep his land in reasonable condition for the trespasser or let him know of hazardous areas.
In the end, it all comes down to how the person was using the property.
- Why was the person on the property?
- How were they using the property?
- Was the accident foreseeable?
- Did the owner make reasonable efforts to warn of existing dangers?
The most important part of this type of case – which typically falls under "premises liability" -- is how that person is categorized if they are hurt on your property.
Are they an invitee or licensee? What if they're a trespasser? What duty of care do you owe to them?
Landlords also owe a special duty of care for their renters, such as taking care of immediate problems in the residence, clearing parking spots, removing snow and fixing any unfinished construction. They also need to remove health hazards like mold from the interior of the building.
Do you have a story to share about this?
Nicky wright says
I live in a HUD Apartment complex My neighbor stole my phone and I called the apartment manager more than once about it. The last time I could view the phone on a findmyphona app. I was told to call the police to file a reports and to handle it myself. I don’t want to do this alone because I’m afraid of law enforcerment!!
Ian Pisarcik says
This sounds like an issue that should be handled by the police. Is there someone you trust that can accompany you to the police station (a friend or family member)?
Umbrella gal says
The property manager and the owner have continued to ignor structual problems in apartment complex for a year. Everytime it rains. The ceiling drips water from the staple holes in the ceiling and between the plywood that make the ceiling.. Water comes from broken gutter on 2nd floor.
Ian Pisarcik says
I would recommend composing a letter with your concerns and requests. Then, send the letter (certified mail with return receipt requested) to the landlord. If the landlord fails to do anything and the damage is significant enough, you have the option to hire someone to repair the ceiling and deduct the cost from your rent.
Diane Ward says
I live in a senior low income “no smoking ” facility.
The tenant below me has been smoking in her apt. since I moved in a year ago. I reported it to the manager and it just got worse. I waited for a long time to see if it would be taken care of, then I wrote to the main office in Calif. and when they talked to the manager, he, of course lied about it. I know, because of the letter that the office in Texas, wrote to me.
I have breathing health issues and I know what second-hand smoke can do.
What recourse do I have, legally?
Melissa Gold says
Hi, Diane. I’m sorry you’re in a tough situation. If the rules of your lease agreement or contract indicate that residents aren’t permitted to smoke, then the tenant downstairs shouldn’t be doing so. If the management company isn’t willing to enforce that, you might need to consult a landlord/tenant attorney for additional resources. Yes, secondhand smoke can be harmful to your health, and if the apartment leasing or residency contract specifically prohibits smoking, that’s reason enough why you shouldn’t be exposed to it in your own home. I would advise you to seek the services of a lawyer who will be familiar with the laws and regulations in your state. If you can’t afford a lawyer, you can check with your state or local bar association. Often, a bar association will have a list of lawyers who provide pro bono (no cost) legal assistance.
I need someone to help point me in the right direction. My landlord is withholding our water from being turned on and has all year long. I have 2 young children and back to school and afraid for theirs and our safety. He states that first off that we owe him rent and we do not. We gave him the water bill which he didnt pay. We ended up paying it to him and also to the water company because he didnt pay it. He says once we pay the rent he’ll give our water money back.plus my boyfriend did over 1500$ worth of tree work for our rent and he won’t credit it either. Then he states we either sign over the trailer which is sitting on his property (he’s only the landowner) or he’s making us move it or uppering our rent by 500$ more a month. We need some guidance. We are in clearfield pa.