Who Is Liable for Injuries on Property Rented by Renters?

A property-related injury could take the form of a slip and fall, structural collapse, elevator accident, swimming pool tragedy or dog attack. When someone other than the property owner is controlling the land, such as a renter, that person may be liable for accidents that occur on the property. Understanding liability in your premises-related case in Kansas City may take help from a lawyer.

Landlord Liability

When a landlord rents out a place, he or she is still legally responsible for property maintenance. Unless the contract stipulates the renter is in charge of maintenance, the landlord must adequately maintain the space. This may include replacing locks, repairing broken windows, installing security features and repairing property defects such as a broken staircase. Keeping a property in good condition can help a landlord limit his or her liability for accidents.

A landlord’s responsibilities over a rented property include inspecting regularly for hazards, responding to renter complaints within a reasonable time, keeping a written log of repair requests, handling urgent problems immediately and encouraging tenants to report safety issues. The lease or rental agreement should clearly break down all repair procedures, as well as state whether the landlord or the renter will be in charge of property maintenance.

If a landlord has an empty unit and this is where the accident occurs, the landlord will be liable for damages. With no renters, the party most likely liable is the landowner. If there are renters, however, they may be liable for guest injuries. The landlord may be responsible for injuries that occur on properties he or she still controls (such as common areas in the building). A landlord may also be liable if the accident occurs due to a failure to repair a known hazard or to warn tenants of dangers.

Renter Liability

On a property someone has rented out, the renter could be responsible for injuries and accidents that occur. The renter has a duty to keep the area reasonably safe for invited guests. The person occupying the property – either a residential or commercial tenant – is in charge of the safety of the building or land within the renter’s control. If the renter fails to repair a rickety shelf inside a store, for example, and it falls and strikes a customer, the renter would be liable for damages.

A renter illegally on a property without the landlord’s knowledge or consent will also be accountable for injuries and accidents. Anyone who knowingly takes control of a property will be legally responsible for the safety of that property. A landlord most likely will not be liable for injuries that occur under the supervision of someone the landlord did not know was occupying the property.

Property Insurance in an Injury Claim

Property insurance could protect a landlord from out-of-pocket expenses after a tenant or guest injury. Property insurance can protect from vandalism, burglary and most natural disasters. Purchasing a comprehensive general liability policy can protect a landlord from personal liability in most injury scenarios. If a defect on the property injures someone, for example, the landlord’s insurance policy could provide coverage. An insurance plan could also cover the charges for hiring a lawyer to defend the landlord during a personal injury lawsuit.

Determining fault for a premises liability accident will take looking for the party that was in control of the area or element that caused the injury. If a child drowns due to lack of supervision at a pool party, for example, the renter of the house would be liable. If the child drowned due to a broken drain cover the property owner knew about, however, the owner would be liable. Most premises liability claims in Kansas City require help from attorneys to resolve, especially when they involve complex questions of renter liability.