Unfortunately, slumlords operate in nearly every town and city in America, and if you happen to rent an apartment from one, life can become miserable. Beyond the leaking faucet that never gets fixed and the ugly, peeling wallpaper, your landlord is directly responsible for your safety in a number of ways.
Conditions Of The Property
If the place is literally falling down around you and these conditions cause you injury or suffering, you may very well be able to take your landlord to court. It is their responsibility to maintain the property, with laws tightly governing these situations. If you're hurt at home and believe it's due to the landlord's negligence, you should contact a personal injury lawyer, particularly if:
- Your injury was caused by something the landlord could have and should have repaired.
- Repairing the property would not have been excessively challenging or costly.
- You have documentation of your injury and can connect it to the landlord's negligence.
Make sure you can build a case, by speaking with neighbors, who can corroborate your testimony, or by having photographic evidence of the property, indicating the defect that led to your injury. Also, it's important that the landlord knew of the problem and failed to act; thus, any paperwork you have, demonstrating that knowledge, should be included in your efforts. Even if you simply jotted down requests for repairs over a period of time, keep that information on hand as you build a prospective case.
When Crime Hits Too Close To Home
If something happens to you as a result of crime in the neighborhood, that too may be the responsibility of the property owner and/or manager. For example, if they failed to provide a tenant with secure, locking windows and a burglar strikes, any subsequent loss or injury, including the emotional distress of the ordeal, may be grounds for a personal injury lawsuit.
In order for you to prove liability, the commission of the crime must somehow be related to the condition of the property, and this is tricky legal territory, making your best course of action contacting an attorney. However, if you feel that you would not have become a victim (of the crime) if the landlord had taken certain actions to protect tenants, keep sounding the alarm until something is done, including obtaining police reports related to incidents of crime. Even if you can't pursue the matter through legal channels, you should be proactive in creating a safer living environment for everyone.
If Other Tenants Become A Problem
Also falling under landlord negligence is proper tenant screening. If a new tenant moves in next to you and deals drugs, receives stolen property or engages in other criminal conduct which creates a danger to others, and you can demonstrate that the landlord failed to properly screen them, you may have a case against them. Especially if the criminal activity results in altercations and other threats to your personal safety, the landlord is, in effect, exposing you to circumstances that could cause harm, but were otherwise preventable through adequate screening.
The landlord may simply wish to fill an empty apartment quickly or not want to go through the expense of conducting background checks; however, failure to take these steps is negligent. It's negligent, too, if the landlord has been notified of criminal and dangerous conduct after allowing a tenant to move in and does nothing about it.
Don't let your landlord get away with conditions that violate the health and safety regulations designed to protect you. If you sustain any type of injury as a result of their negligence, including, but not limited to, the psychological effects, contact a personal injury lawyer to seek appropriate damages and to set the situation straight. It's your right.
Contact a law office like Law Offices of Jeremy W McKey for more information and assistance.