When Is a Landlord Liable for Criminal Activity at Their Property?

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When criminal activity occurs in an apartment or rental house, it is natural to wonder if something could have been done to prevent it.

Your landlord probably doesn’t live in the building and isn’t involved in any crime, but the blame is still on them. Recent lawsuits featured in the news require landlords to take property security seriously It tragically shows that

Family killed after locks weren’t changed

Ruth Esther Reyes de Severino and her children, ages 5 and 2, were murdered in Penns Grove, New Jersey in February 2020 by her husband, who subsequently committed suicide.

Severino’s family is now suing the apartment complex, its operators, and others involved in managing the property. wrongful deathnegligence, breach of contract, negligent employment.

The lawsuit accuses property owners and managers of: Ignore Severino’s multiple requests to change locks to her apartment. A month ago, a court granted her request for a restraining order against her husband, whom she accused of threatening to kill her.

In fact, the lawsuit alleges that Severino “begged” management at least five times to replace the keys. Her husband used the key to enter the apartment and commit murder.

Landlords have a duty to provide a safe environment

you sue for negligenceyou are telling the court that the defendant had a duty to protect you and that he failed to do so, and that failure resulted in injury.

However, the law does not impose many obligations between unrelated individuals.

You have no obligation to random strangers on the street, but you might as well warn them about the ice on the sidewalk. .

There are obligations between parents and children, between doctors and patients, and between landlords and tenants. If your apartment becomes the scene of a crime, it’s your last resort as you can hold the landlord accountable.

landlord has Certain obligations to protect tenantsThis includes ensuring that all buildings meet or exceed local safety laws. In fact, the Severino family lawsuit alleges that the management company flouted a local law passed following a shooting at the same complex in 2019.

What should landlords do?

If the landlord finds the property unsafe due to crime or being notified of a problem by the tenant, they need to make the appropriate changesThis includes:

  • Install bars on street-level windows
  • Install motion sensor lights near stairs and entrances
  • Make sure locks and other security features are working
  • Maintaining windows and other openings

what should you do

If you or a visitor are injured as a result of a crime and the landlord fails to meet this limited duty to protect the tenant, litigation may be appropriate.

Just because your apartment didn’t have a state-of-the-art alarm system doesn’t mean you can sue your landlord. Building security should be reasonable, but not necessarily perfect.

However, if there is crime or you feel unsafe, it is important to call your landlord and inform them of the problem. That might be enough to prompt the necessary changes to make it more secure.

If the landlord does not want to improve the safety of the building, they can consider talk to a lawyer about your options. Save all correspondence with your landlord to document your efforts to address the issue. An attorney may help you discover that you may have reasons to terminate the lease and move to a safer environment without financial penalties.

You don’t have to fix this yourself – get help from a lawyer

A meeting with an attorney can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights.visit us lawyer list To find a lawyer near you who can help.

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