If you are injured as a tenant or visitor to an apartment complex, they may be held liable for the injuries you have sustained.
The apartment industry provides a service of affordable housing for singles and families across Texas. In providing and profiting from this service, they have particular duties and responsibilities that are unique to them. These include the duty to provide a reasonably safe atmosphere, and to keep tenants and visitors free from any injuries or dangerous conditions. Here are some more specifics on the duties that landlords have to keep your apartment complex a habitable place. Though apartment complexes are not liable in every situation, there are many instances in which you may sue the apartment complex for your injuries. The responsibilities they have are found under the Texas Premises Liability Law.
Under Texas Premises Liability Law, property owners are held to various standards according to the reasons people visit the property. Therefore, apartment complex owners are held to the highest standard for their tenants, also known as invitees, meaning they must go above and beyond to keep them free from harm. They must also make sure the property is safe for the guests of tenants and for potential future tenants who are visiting the property. To find out more about Texas Premises Liability Law, read here.
When are apartment complexes liable?
There are certain concerns that people may not always consider, which are specific to apartment complexes. Some of the situations we have litigated at Grossman Law have been very dangerous. These cases can be challenging because the apartment complexes can often be held liable for wrongful acts that they themselves did not commit. At first glance this may sound unjust or even unethical, but the truth is that there are many situations in which the apartment complex was negligent, and as a result of this negligence, a serious tragedy happened that could have been avoided.
For example, our firm handled one case where there was a man who was a tenant at an apartment complex, and even though he was the only one on the lease, he had given his partner spare keys to the apartment. When he ended the relationship, his (now ex-partner) began behaving irrationally, and because he felt unsafe, he asked the apartment complex to change the locks and warned them that he felt unsafe. The apartment complex complied with his request, but the following day, the ex-partner went to the office claiming that she had locked herself out of her apartment. They gave her a new set of keys, and she went in and murdered him. In this case, the apartment complex was negligent because they owed the tenant a duty to keep him safe. If they were responsibly holding up to their duties, they would have checked the lease and seen that he was the only one on the lease that should be given a new set of keys. Though apartment owners have a duty to their tenants, they can kick out tenants that are or may be a threat to their other tenants.
Though this is an extreme example, there are many other examples of cases where apartment complexes are liable. Unfortunately, these cases are fairly common, and include things such as:
- injuries or deaths sustained from defects on the property
- foreseeable criminal activity
- dangerous animal attacks
If a floorboard rots out, or a stair breaks, the property owners are responsible for the resulting damages. If an animal is known to be aggressive, the owners have a duty to make sure that animal does not reside at the complex and risk hurting other residents. If the area is known to have had multiple criminal offenses, it is the duty of the apartment complex to try to resolve the problem by hiring a security officer or installing surveillance cameras.
Apartment complexes are also liable if regulations are not followed. These might result in tragedies such as:
- pool drownings
- car accidents
For example, in Texas, the spaces between railings at an apartment must be smaller than a four inch sphere. If an apartment complex did not follow this regulation, a child could become stuck or even fall through the railing, resulting in injury or death. Apartments also do maintenance on buildings fairly often. If safety regulations are not followed, an abandoned ladder or can of paint could cause someone to trip and hurt themselves. If there is a common problem of speeding through the parking lots, and the property owner does not install speed bumps, they can be liable if someone is hit by a car. As you can see, there are many instances in which an apartment complex did not necessarily inflict the harm, but if it was foreseeable, they may still be held responsible.
We're experts in the field of premises liability.
If you or a loved one is ever injured at an apartment complex, the property owners may be responsible. The attorneys at Grossman Law will be able to help you determine how to receive financial compensation for your injuries and to answer any questions you have about your claim. If you think you have a premises liability personal injury claim, contact Grossman Law Offices at (855)326-0000.