Landowners generally owe others a duty to maintain their property and warn of hidden dangers. The level of care owed, however, depends on the relationship between the property owner and the visitor. For example, business owners owe a greater duty of care to customers than they do to trespassers. The question of liability can become especially complicated when the relationship between the property owner and the guest is more difficult to identify. For instance, landlords who lease their property, legally transfer responsibility for some maintenance over to the tenant. However, they are still required to fulfill other duties to tenants and visitors, so if you were injured at your apartment complex or another property owned by your landlord, you may be able to collect damages for your injuries by filing a premises liability claim.
In 2007, the Florida Supreme Court clarified that landlords owe their tenants a duty to use reasonable care in maintaining the property and to warn them of any hidden dangers. Aside from complying with all building, housing, and health codes, this requires landlords to keep certain parts of the property in good repair, including the:
- Exterior walls;
- Foundations; and
- Other structural parts.
Common areas must also be kept in a safe and clean condition, which includes being free of debris and trash.
A landlord’s failure to fulfill these duties can have serious consequences for tenants and their guests. For instance, a landlord’s failure to fix a leaky roof could create wet conditions on a walkway, which could then endanger any people walking nearby. Poor lighting, especially in stairways, can easily cause a tenant to slip on a step or make him or her vulnerable to attack by trespassers. However, before a landlord can be held liable for injuries sustained on its property, the plaintiff must have evidence that he or she warned the landlord of the dangerous nature of the condition, but the landlord took no action or made negligent and ineffective repairs.
Although some landlords may seek to limit their liability by including provisions in their rental agreements that release them from these duties, Florida law strictly prohibits this and makes these clauses unenforceable.
Contact a Florida Premises Liability Attorney Today
Although tenants are required to keep their premises clean and in good condition, landlords still owe certain duties to tenants and their guests. A failure to fulfill these duties can lead to painful injuries that are not only difficult to treat, but also expensive. Fortunately, tenants who were injured as a result of their landlord’s negligence may be eligible to collect compensation for past and future medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and the pain and suffering endured as a result of the accident. To speak with an experienced premises liability attorney about your own case, please contact Boone & Davis in Fort Lauderdale at 954-566-9919 today. A member of our legal team can also be reached via email or live chat. We look forward to addressing your concerns.