Most people understand that landlords have a responsibility to keep their premises safe from foreseeable hazards. However, not everyone knows that landlords may, under certain circumstances, be held accountable for crimes committed against tenants on their premises. But when exactly can a landlord be held responsible for someone else’s crime, and what does that mean for tenants who are the victims of crimes?
The Legal Duty of Landlords Towards Their Tenants
All landlords have a legal responsibility to maintain their property, and to remove or repair any hazards that may pose a danger to their tenants or their tenants’ guests. They also have a responsibility to take protective measures to prevent foreseeable harm. When landlords fail in this duty, they place their tenants at unnecessary risk of harm, and if someone is hurt, they can be sued for failing to uphold their responsibilities.
Protecting Tenants From Crime
A part of a landlord’s duty to their tenants is to prevent foreseeable crimes that could result in harm to tenants or their guests. For example, this includes taking measures to prevent burglaries or robberies, especially in areas where that kind of crime is common. This responsibility also extends to protecting the area immediately around the building, including the sidewalk and parking lot.
That being said, landlords are not responsible for every criminal act that happens on their premises. They can only be held responsible if the crime in question was foreseeable, and could have been prevented with reasonable security measures. If someone is injured in a crime and it is determined that the landlord could not have reasonably done anything to foresee or prevent it, they cannot be held responsible.
Examples of Potential Security Measures
There are a variety of common security measures that can be put into place to prevent or discourage criminal activity. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Installing security cameras to monitor potential criminal activity
- Hiring security guards to prevent intruders from breaking into the building
- Installing lights in dark areas to minimize the risk of robbery or assault
- Putting bars over windows to prevent break-ins
- Ensuring all windows and doors have functional locks
- Installing an alarm system to warn of break-ins or other emergencies
What to Do if You Are a Victim of a Crime
If you have been the victim of a crime on the premises of a property you rent and it could have been prevented by reasonable security measures, you may have cause to pursue legal action against your landlord. To fully understand what actions you can take, you should speak to a landlord with experience handling personal injury cases. They can help advise you and get you the best possible outcome or your case.
If you or a loved one have been injured due to someone else’s negligence, you should seek out the personal injury lawyers at Zlotolow & Associates. Our seasoned New York personal injury attorneys bring more than two decades of trial experience to your case. We serve all five boroughs of New York City, as well as Nassau and Suffolk County. Our aggressive personal injury attorneys always demand maximum compensation. We have helped thousands of clients recover through settlements and courtroom verdicts.