Landlord Liability In a Slip and Fall Claim

By
Mortgage and Lending with Olympus Labs

Image Source: https://pixabay.com/photos/mark-heads-up-slip-slippery-floor-944004/

A common misconception is that when a property is leased, the lessor is released from liability simply because the property’s possession shifts from that of the lessor to the lessee. This is incorrect, as the law provides a clear distinction between ownership and possession.

In a lease agreement, the property owner (or lessor) merely cedes possession of the property to the lessee, but retains ownership of the property. The possession of property is only one subset of ownership. Losing possession of your property (or ceding it) does not mean that you lose ownership of said property.

Therefore, a property owner can still be held liable if a slip and fall accident occurs on their property. However, there are some elements that need to be established in the case in order to determine culpability.

Negligence

In any injury-related claim, claimants first need to establish the element of negligence. Negligence refers to the intentional or unintentional failure to act in a reasonable manner in a particular situation. Without the element of negligence, there can be no case made against the landlord. It must also be established that the negligent act was the direct cause of the accident.

Knowledge of the Danger

In establishing negligence of a landlord, it must be shown that the landlord was aware of the danger. For example, if there was a roof leak that was creating puddles in the living room, the landlord must have been informed of the leak before the landlord has a chance to address the problem. If an accident was caused by a problem that the landlord is unaware of, there can be no negligence, as the landlord was not aware of the problem to begin with and thus had no chance to act in a reasonable manner.

On the other hand, if the landlord was informed of the leak, and still failed to fix it despite many opportunities to rectify the issue, the landlord can be held liable for the slip and fall accident.

Protection for Landlords Against Fraudulent Claims

While most claims are legitimate, there are instances when claimants fake their injuries in order to secure compensation. The truth is that juries tend to lean in favor of landlords, since tenants are the primary caretakers of the property. There are far too many ways that an accident can happen to a tenant without the negligence of the landlord. Even then, landlords are encouraged to hire hospital canvass experts like the ones from the Diligence International Group to help validate whether the claimant really did sustain injuries at the premises.

For tenants, it’s important to understand that while a lease does not release landlords from liability, tenants are still the primary party responsible for maintaining the space that they’ve leased. The responsibility to

keep your space in good condition

is as much the responsibility of the tenant as it is the landlord’s. If an accident happens in your personal area, over which the landlord has no access to, it’s very unlikely that such a case would prosper.

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