Did you know the number of American households living in rented properties has hit a 50-year high? Although homeownership is the ultimate goal for the vast majority of Americans, most start out as tenants before acquiring their own homes.
Renting has its fair share of upsides and downsides. For instance, renting affords you greater financial flexibility and there are no maintenance and repair costs to worry about.
On the downside, because you don’t have much control over the property’s condition, your risk for injuries increases.
If you’ve sustained an injury, you’re probably asking, “Can a tenant sue a landlord for injury?”
Well, the short answer is “probably yes” but keep reading for deeper insight.
Understand a Landlord’s Responsibilities
Every state has a landlord-tenant law that spells out the responsibilities of landlords and tenants. There are also federal laws, such as the Fair Housing Act, that protect the rights of both landlords and tenants.
One of the biggest responsibilities of landlords is to ensure their rental properties are safe and in a habitable condition. Although specific regulations might vary from state to state, most require landlords to provide a lead disclosure if the rental was built before 1978.
Landlords should take steps to clean out instances of mold, install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, make structural repairs where necessary, and install window guards at the request of a tenant. They should also perform regular inspections to ensure their rental units meet the relevant safety codes.
Overall, these regulations are designed to ensure tenants don’t sustain personal injuries because of situations out of their control.
Injured as a Result of Landlord’s Negligence?
The most straightforward way to sue a landlord for a personal injury is if you believe your injury was a result of the landlord’s negligence.
For instance, if you fell down the stairs and broke a leg, you could sue the landlord if:
- The staircase was slippery and there was no visible warning
- The staircase needed repairs/was structurally weak
- The landlord was aware of the faulty staircase but failed to make repairs in good time.
In any of these scenarios, it’s fairly correct to say you’ll have a strong case against your landlord and/or their property management company. Keep in mind that you bear the burden of proof, so it’s advisable to hire a competent personal injury lawyer, like the ones at Preszler Law Firm, to help you prepare a rock-solid case.
When You’re at Fault for Your Personal Injury
There are instances when you’ll be at fault for your personal injury.
For example, if you injure yourself while doing DIY repairs in your rented house, you’ll certainly be at fault and, as such, cannot sue your landlord.
Well, you can sue them if you want, but they’ll easily win the case because you have no business making structural repairs on your own. The right thing to do is to call the landlord or property manager who will then arrange for repairs.
Can a Tenant Sue a Landlord for Injury? The Verdict!
So, can a tenant sue a landlord for injury?
Yes, you can, but whether the case is won or lost will depend on the specific circumstance of the injury.
If you can prove that the injury happened because of a landlord’s negligence, you’ll win. But if it was out of your fault or carelessness, you’ll lose – and the court might order you to compensate the landlord for their legal fees and lost time. It’s always best to consult with a personal injury lawyer before suing your landlord.
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