Premises Liability: Landlord-Tenant Relationship

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Generally, premises liability extends to slip and falls that occur while one is on their rental property. But, of course this comes with exceptions.

On this blog we previously discussed the legal responsibility property owners hold regarding slip and falls. When someone slips and falls on the property of another, the general rule is the property owner may be fully responsible. Any slips, falls, or trips that occur as a result of a dangerous or hazardous condition may result in the injured party being compensated for medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering. Generally the property owner must have caused the dangerous condition, or knew or should have known of the dangerous condition and failed to rectify it.

If you are renting property, who is responsible for injuries that occur while on the property? In the context of landlord-tenant relationships, premises liability applies to slip and falls that occur on the rental property as well. In many cases, the landlord will be responsible for injuries, but this is dependent upon the type of rental relationship. Similar to the general rule, rental property owners must keep their property safe for renters and visitors. Landlords owe a duty of reasonable care as to those areas of the property where the landlord retrains control. This usually is regarded as the common area, which are areas shared by all owners of the property, such as public entry/exit ways, parking lots, recreation facilities, elevators and laundry rooms.

Slip and Fall Verdict

After a three-and-a-half hour deliberation, a Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas jury awarded a plaintiff $17,500 for injuries he suffered due to a fall. The plaintiff was descending the basement stairs to his leased property at the time of the fall. While grasping the wooden railing, it unhinged from the wall, and the plaintiff fell about 12 steps. The plaintiff suffered a spinal injury, and was diagnosed with cervical radiculopathy, an exacerbation of degenerative disc disease, as well as strains and sprains to the cervical and thoracic spine. The plaintiff spent about $14,000 in out-of-pocket expenses, and continued to experience occasional neck pain and limited range of motion.

The plaintiff alleged the landlord created a defective and dangerous condition. The plaintiff  presented evidence that the wooden railing was nailed, rather than bolted to the wall. Photo exhibits illustrated that there were protruding bent nails from the railings latch, which attached to the wall. The landlord defendants contended that the plaintiff suffered no injury as a result of the fall, as well as not having notice of the defective regarding the wooden railing.

Ultimately, a jury found the landlord defendants were negligent, and their negligence was the factual cause of the plaintiff’s injury.

Need Help?

As with many cases, premises liability cases are intensely fact based and can be complicated. Hiring an experienced personal injury attorney is the best choice to protect your legal rights. The Pennsylvania premises liability lawyers at Solnick & Associates, LLC represent those who have been injured in slip and fall accidents. Call us today at 215-481-9979 for a free consultation.

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