In most cases, landowners owe a duty of care to those whom they invite onto their land. As a general rule, the level of care owed to a visitor depends on the relationship between the parties. For example, a customer shopping at a business is owed a higher duty of care than a trespasser who enters the owner’s land without permission.The landlord-tenant relationship presents an interesting intersection of premises liability law and contract law. Certainly, the landlord retains legal ownership of the property and is responsible for transferring the property to the tenant in a reasonably safe condition; however, pursuant to the lease between the parties, the tenant is in exclusive possession of the property. Thus, courts have had to devise a way to determine when liability is appropriate in situations in which an injury occurs at a property owned by the landlord.
In Florida, a landlord can be held liable for injuries occurring on the property in a limited number of situations. The first is if the property was not transferred to the tenant in a safe condition. This includes making sure that the building is up to all building, housing, and health codes. The second potential basis for landlord liability is when the landlord fails to repair a known defect. In order for a tenant to succeed under this theory of liability, the tenant must have provided the landlord notice that the dangerous condition needed repair. Finally, a landlord may be liable to non-tenants in certain circumstances if a tenant’s dog attacks a visitor.
Court Rejects Premises Liability Claim Against Landlord
Earlier this month, an appellate court in Georgia issued a written opinion in a premises liability lawsuit brought by several tenants and guests who were injured on the landlord’s property. According to the court’s opinion, the tenants were having a barbecue on the rear deck of the home when the deck collapsed, injuring several of the tenants as well as their guests. The injured parties filed a premises liability lawsuit against the landlord.
Ultimately, the court rejected the plaintiffs’ claims against the landlord, applying a very similar law to that which applies in Florida. The court explained that the landlord had hired an independent contractor to build the deck, so he could not be responsible for the deck’s construction, even if it was faulty. Furthermore, the court noted that the landlord had not been put on notice that the deck needed repair. As a result, the court determined that the landlord could not be held liable for the plaintiffs’ injuries.
Have You Been Injured in a Rented Home?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a home you rent, or as a guest in another person’s home, you may be entitled to monetary compensation from the party that owns the home. The skilled personal injury and wrongful death attorneys at the South Florida law firm of Friedman, Rodman & Frank have extensive experience handling a wide array of premises liability cases, and we know what it takes to succeed in Florida courts. Call 877-448-8585 to schedule a free consultation with a dedicated personal injury attorney today.
More Blog Posts:
Florida Appellate Court Invalidates Arbitration Agreement, Rejecting Nursing Home’s Argument, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published March 30, 2017.
State Court of Appeals Invalidates Nursing Home Arbitration Contract, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published April 13, 2017.