Landlord vs. Tenant Responsibilities: Who is Liable?

A landlord has a legal responsibility to safely maintain rental properties. Those responsibilities can vary depending on local laws and regulations, as well as terms outlined in the lease agreement, but in general landlords are required to:

  • Comply with building codes and safety regulations—Landlords must ensure that their rental properties comply with all applicable building codes and safety regulations, including requirements related to structural integrity, electrical and plumbing systems, fire safety, and other health and safety standards.
  • Repair and maintain the rental property—Landlords are responsible for repairing and maintaining the rental property to ensure that it’s safe and habitable for the tenants. This includes things such as installing locks on doors and windows, providing adequate lighting in common areas, and addressing any security concerns raised by tenants.
  • Maintain common areas—Any common areas, such as hallways, stairwells, or outdoor spaces, must be maintained in a safe condition, including keeping them clean and free of hazards, such as ice and debris.
  • Provide properly functioning utilities—Landlords must provide tenants with access to properly functioning utilities, such as water, electricity, heating, and cooling. Landlords should promptly address any issues with utilities to ensure that tenants have a safe and comfortable living environment.
  • Respond to safety concerns—Landlords should promptly respond to any safety concerns raised by tenants, such as mold, pest infestations, or hazardous conditions within the rental property.
  • Regular inspections—Landlords should conduct regular inspections of rental properties to identify any maintenance issues or safety concerns that need to be addressed.

What are the tenant’s responsibilities?
A tenant does have certain responsibilities to ensure the safe maintenance of the rental property they reside in, including:

  • Routine cleaning—Regularly clean the rental property to prevent the buildup of dirt, mold, and other potential hazards.
  • Promptly report maintenance issues—Report any maintenance issues or repairs needed to the landlord or property manager as soon as they arise. This can include plumbing leaks, electrical problems, malfunctioning appliances, or even structural issues.
  • Change light bulbs and batteries—Replace burned out light bulbs, and batteries in smoke detectors or carbon monoxide detectors unless the lease agreement specifies that batteries are replaced by the property manager.
  • Proper disposal of trash and waste—This helps to prevent pest infestations and maintain cleanliness.
  • Follow safety guidelines—Adhere to safety guidelines provided by the landlord, such as not blocking fire exits, keeping flammable materials away from heat sources, and using appliances property.
  • Respect the property—Treat the rental property with respect and care, avoiding deliberate damage or misuse of the premises.

Who is liable if someone gets hurt?
This is a complicated question, and depends on several factors, including the circumstances of the injury, the terms of the rental agreement, and local laws. Here are some general guidelines:

  • Landlord’s responsibility—In many cases, the landlord may be held responsible for injuries that occur on the rental property if they result from the landlord’s negligence or failure to maintain a safe environment. This could include hazards such as broken stairs, faulty wiring, inadequate security measures, ice/debris/broken surfaces that cause slip and fall incidents, etc.
  • Third-party liability—In some cases, a third party (someone who is neither the landlord or the tenant) may be liable for injuries on the rental property. For example, if the injury is due to the negligence of a contractor hired by the landlord, the contract may be held responsible.
  • Tenant’s responsibility—Tenants also have a responsibility to maintain a safe environment within their rented space. If the injury occurs due to the tenant’s negligence, such as failing to clean up spills, or allowing dangerous conditions to persist, they could be at fault.

If you or a loved one is injured on a rental property…
…it’s crucial to document the incident thoroughly, seek medical attention if necessary, and consult with legal professionals to understand your rights and responsibilities. Hire an attorney with the experience, staff, and resources to guide you every step of the way and recover the largest settlement possible.

If you or a loved one are injured on a rental property, contact the attorneys at LaSalvia Law. We will fight to win you the compensation you deserve.

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You can expect to hear from Christine 1-2 days after submitting your inquiry.

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