Landlords Have Legal Responsibilities Too
One of the more lucrative, and stable ways to make money in America is to be a landlord, investing in property and then allowing others to live—or work—in that property provided they pay your specified rent every month. However, beyond just owning a property and allowing others to use it for a price, landlords also have certain legal obligations. There is one aspect of the law, called premises liability, that states that, under certain circumstances, some types of injury sustained on a property may actually be the fault of the landlord.
If this is the case, then that means the injured parties may be able to go to court and successfully win a personal injury lawsuit. But under what circumstances would premises liability come into play for a landlord?
The first and primary responsibility of a landlord is to ensure that a building is actually structurally safe. As the owner of the building, you, as the landlord, have sole authority to make changes and effect repairs to the building. This is why if, for example, you rent out a home to tenants, they can’t simply knock down a wall to enlarge a room. They don’t actually own the property or have that authority; you do.
This means that if you are aware of a problem with a building, one that may actually make it unsafe for people, but choose to ignore this danger, any injury that arises is your legal responsibility. As an extreme example, let’s imagine that a quick inspection of a home reveals that termites have gotten into the ceiling/second floor and structurally weakened it.
You, as the landlord, decide to ignore this and not repair the floor. Later, you rent the home to a family, and they move in. Just a few weeks after moving in, a child who is jumping up and down in his or her new bedroom on the second floor, falls straight through the floor, down to the first, sustaining a brain injury in the process.
Premises Liability Attorney In Washington DC
Because you knew the floor was structurally compromised but chose to do nothing about it, if that family decides to sue you for premises liability, they have a good chance of winning. If the lawyer representing the family contacts the service that conducted the inspection and gets hold of the results indicating termites and structural danger, you could find yourself facing a premises liability attorney in Washington DC.