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2024 Personal Injury

Are Landlords Responsible for Injuries to Tenants?

It is increasingly being said that America is becoming a nation of renters, as homeownership costs climb out of reach for most working- and middle-class Americans. In fact, some have even argued that America should be a nation of renters and that this would be a positive development. Regardless of whether that is true or not, an increasing share of the population living in rental units will inevitably lead to an increase in premises liability and other personal injury claims between tenants and landlords. If you have been injured due to your landlord’s negligence, a Tifton personal injury lawyer can help you recover. 

What Landlords Are Responsible For 

The general principles of Georgia premises liability law apply to residential landlords on the same basis as other property owners. Under Georgia Code § 51-3-1, “Where an owner or occupier of land, by express or implied invitation, induces or leads others to come upon his premises for any lawful purpose, he is liable in damages to such persons for injuries caused by his failure to exercise ordinary care in keeping the premises and approaches safe.” This category of visitors is known as “invitees” and includes residential tenants. 

Common Areas 

Landlords are responsible for injuries (such as slip and fall injuries) caused by their negligence in areas of the property over which they have exclusive control, which typically includes: 

  • Parking lots or garages
  • Lobbies and hallways 
  • Common decks, porches, and patios
  • Recreation rooms
  • Gyms 
  • Pool areas 
  • Elevators and stairwells 
  • Basements and storage areas  

Defective Construction or Failure to Repair 

Similarly, landlords are responsible for injuries arising due to defective construction or their negligent failure to repair known dangerous conditions. This liability encompasses both common areas of the property and tenants’ individual apartments. For example, assume that a tenant informs a landlord that his ceiling is leaking, which the landlord allows to persist for a period of several weeks. Eventually, the moisture from the leak causes the ceiling to partially cave in, causing a serious injury to the tenant. The landlord likely would be liable for the tenant’s injuries due to its negligent failure to repair the leak. 

Negligent Security 

Property owners generally are not responsible for the criminal actions of third parties upon their property. However, they may be liable for such actions if they reasonably could have foreseen them occurring. This could occur, for example, where a tenant is injured in a mugging in the building parking lot if there had been a string of similar muggings in the past and the landlord failed to take corrective action. 

What Landlords Are Not Responsible For 

As a general rule, landlords are not responsible for injuries to tenants or third parties that occur due to the tenant’s negligence in areas in which the landlord has “parted with possession” (i.e., the tenant’s individual apartment). For example, a tenant likely could not pursue a claim against a landlord where the tenant was injured by a falling bookcase the tenant had improperly assembled. However, as noted above, landlords are responsible for injuries even in areas in which they have parted with possession if the injury was due to defective construction or the landlord’s negligent failure to repair.

Contact a Tifton Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Options for Claims Against Landlords 

Premises liability claims against landlords can be tricky because the law imposes duties of care upon both landlords and tenants in multifamily dwellings. To discuss your claim, please contact a Tifton personal injury lawyer at the Hudson Injury Firm by calling 229-396-5848 or using our online form