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Is the landlord always liable for tenant or visitor injuries?

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The trouble with asking if a landlord is always liable is that absolutes rarely work in cases like this. Certainly, it cannot be said that a landlord is always liable when people are injured in a rental property in New York. The actions that the tenant or visitor takes play into this, as well, and landlords can’t prevent injuries when people do dangerous things.

However, it’s important to remember that there are a lot of cases in which landlords are responsible. They need to make sure that rental spaces are always as safe and inhabitable as possible, addressing issues as they come up.

There are a few key things that need to be shown to determine if the landlord is liable or not:

— The landlord must have had a duty to make repairs or take action to rectify a dangerous situation.

— The landlord must have violated this duty by not taking action quickly enough to fix the problem.

— It has to be shown that the issue isn’t unreasonably difficult or expensive to fix.

— The landlord needed to know about the problem.

— The injury had to be caused directly by the dangerous condition and the fact that it wasn’t fixed.

This is why it’s important for tenants to tell landlords about dangerous conditions like a broken step or banister on a staircase. However, even if the tenant does not tell the landlord and perhaps doesn’t know about it in the first place, the landlord can be liable if he or she should have known.

Negligence could just be a failure to inspect and upkeep the property reasonably.If you’ve been injured in a rental space, you might be able to seek compensation.

Source: FindLaw, “Liability for Tenant Injuries and Insurance for Landlords,” accessed Oct. 16, 2015

Jason Fuiman

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Co-Managing Partner and Chair of O'Dwyer & Bernstien's Labor & Employee Benefits practice, Jason has over twenty years of experience in the New York legal industry.