A landlord is often liable for injuries sustained by tenants and the tenants' guests.
Apartment owners and landlords have a duty to keep their rental units reasonably safe for their renters and any visitors under Texas premises liability law. The level of care owed each person on their property depends on the status of that guest to the property. Someone who rents from them is owed the highest level of care by law. He or she is considered a licensee guest (as are employees), there by invitation for mutual commercial benefit. A landlord or apartment owner must regularly inspect the premises and make any necessary repairs to keep the property reasonably safe, and must also warn the tenants of any known dangerous conditions.
Obligations to Guests
Other visitors to the property would include:
A Social Guest - Someone visiting the renter or an off-duty employee. The visitor is there by invitation as well, express or implied, and owed a slightly lower level of care than a business guest. The apartment owner or landlord must also keep the premises reasonably safe for visitors to the property.
An Uninvited Guest, or trespasser. This person has not come to the property by an invitation, and thus is owed only a minimal level of care. An apartment owner or landlord must not harm the person, but must also only warn the trespasser of dangers that could cause serious injury or death.
An Uninvited Child Guest - Unlike the adult trespasser, the child trespasser is owed a higher standard of care. Although the child is there without invitation, age and lack of wisdom and experience must be taken into account. Texas has a keen interest in protecting it's children, and requires this high standard of care. Because of this, the Attractive Nuisance Doctrine has been created.
The Attractive Nuisance Doctrine
The attractive nuisance doctrine says that a property owner must make repairs and keep any known condition that might attract a child to his property reasonably safe. This applies to youths that either do not notice the dangerous condition or do not see the risks that are associated with the dangerous condition. For example, all apartment complexes with pools are required by law to have adequate security in place to keep children from getting to the pool unattended. A child may realize that the pool is present, but see no harm in jumping in for a swim, not realizing the risks associated with not being able to swim. This doctrine is in place because it saves many lives and anguish that could be caused the family of the injured or killed child. The doctrine covers swimming pools, but also includes any other things that might attract the attention of small children. Some of these include:
- Broken Trampolines
- Mounds of Dirt or Debris
- Broken Tire Swings/Swing Sets
- Unfriendly Pets
- Dangerous Treehouses/Playhouses
Read our page on swimming pool drownings to find out more about cases involving pools or the Attractive Nuisance Doctrine.
Other Landlord Duties and Responsibilities
Other duties that landlords have to their tenants fall under the Texas Implied Warranty of Habitability. This states that the property must be safe, sanitary, and otherwise generally fit for residents to reside. This includes making repairs and following the attractive nuisance doctrine, but also doing things like controlling repeat trespass offenders, replacing locks, securing the access of keys to residences, following the conditions of the lease, and ensuring that there are no dangerous animals on the property. If any of the duties are broken, deaths or injuries might occur, and the tenant or visitor to the property will be able to file a claim against the landlord in accordance with the laws of premises liability.
Cases We've Won
Grossman Law Offices has handled many premises liability cases involving apartment complexes and landlords/tenants over the last 25 years. Some of these include:
- A child who drowned in an apartment swimming pool.
- A boy who was injured on an ATV in an apartment complex.
- Faulty appliances in a rental unit.
- Dog bites/attacks.
- Slip, trip & fall.
- Young children severely injured falling from a balcony with faulty railings.
- Inadequate lighting.
- Inadequate security.
- Faulty stairwells.
Premises liability cases involving apartment complexes and landlords/tenants can be highly technical cases and the guidance of a skilled, experienced attorney like those at Grossman Law Offices can be invaluable to your case. We know how to fight big rental companies and their insurance adjusters to get you the money you need for your or your loved one's injuries. We only get paid if we win your case, so call us toll-free today at (855) 326-0000. Let us begin to get you the justice and healthy recovery you require.