If you live in an apartment complex or rental home, you naturally expect your home and the property surrounding it to be safe and secure for you and your family. Unfortunately, however, crime can occur virtually anywhere. If you become the victim of it in or around your home, can you sue your landlord for your personal injuries?
The answer depends on what happened and where it happened.
Duty of care
Per FindLaw, your landlord owes you a duty of care when you rent from him or her. While the law does not require him or her to prevent any and all types of crime from occurring on the property, it does require him or her to take reasonable steps to ensure that the property is as safe as possible.
Examples of reasonable safety measures include the following:
- Compliance with local safety codes
- Properly working door locks
- Properly secured windows, especially on the ground floor
- Well-lighted parking lots, garages, sidewalks, entryways and stairwells
- Motion sensing lighting around the home or complex
Requested changes and upgrades
Keep in mind that you likewise bear responsibility for your own safety. If you spot a malfunctioning outdoor light or other safety hazard, be sure to inform your landlord of it as quickly as possible and request that he or she fix it.
The same goes for the keys to your home or apartment. If you lose them or if your roommate moves out, you have every right to request that your landlord change your locks and give you a new set of keys.
If your landlord fails to heed your request, you may well have a premises liability suit against him if a crime occurs and you sustain injuries because of it.