The general rule holds that a lessor (landlord) is not liable to a lessee (renter), or anyone else, for physical harm caused by a condition on the property. This is based partially on the lessor's presumed lack of control over the property once it is leased. However, the rule has numerous important exceptions. If an injury resulted because of a latent defect and the lessor knew or had reason to know of it, the lessor may be liable. A latent defect is a concealed, unreasonably dangerous condition, either artificial or natural.
Similarly, the landlord has a duty to keep the apartment building in a safe and livable condition for its renters. The following fall under the landlord’s responsibility:
- Building maintenance. The structure must be solid and in good condition. The foundations, walls, and roof must be water tight and often inspected. The exterior must be adequately lighted.
- Hallway/interior upkeep. The hallways and stairways must be properly illuminated and debris free. There must be signs for exits and fire escapes. Smoke alarms must be provided, as well as sprinklers and fire extinguishers where necessary.
- Electric/plumbing. All plumbing and pipes must be kept in good working order and electrical wire and circuits must be safe and operable. The water heater, furnace, and chimneys must be in good working order.
- Other areas/items. The windows, outside doors and basement doors must be safe, in working order and in good condition. The property must be protected against mice, rats, and other rodents and insects as not to promote further infestation and problems. Prevent the collection of stagnant water. All bathroom (toilet, basin, bath tub/shower), kitchen sink must be in working order. Supply heat, hot and cold water, as well as providing adequate ventilation and light.
A personal injury or slip and fall accident can happen anywhere. If a similar injury has happened to you, then contact our office at Morici, Figlioli and Associates at (312) 372-9600 to schedule a complimentary first consultation. We are available by phone Monday through Friday from 9am to 5pm CST, or email us 24/7. You should know your options!