Everyone has a right to live and work in a safe environment and for over 2 millionrenters in New York City much of the responsibility for adequate conditions lies with a landlord or property manager. Tenants and guests of both residential and commercial premises are protected by several state and New York City laws, from rent regulations to the Attorney General’s Tenants’ Rights Guide. These laws mandate that property must be fit to live in with no conditions that threaten tenants’ health or safety.
There is also a warranty of habitability included in every lease to ensure adequate measures are taken by the landlord to keep tenants safe.
Violations of this clause include but are not limited to:
- Improper lighting and wiring
- Dangerous stairwells, hallways and sidewalks
- Slippery floors
- Lead paint
- Faulty water heaters
- Elevator defects
- Malfunctioning plumbing systems
- Cracked ceilings or leaky roofs
- Unavailability of hot water and heat
- Pests including insects and vermin
Often injuries caused by this type of negligence are a result of unscrupulous landlords trying to save money on maintenance and repairs. While not every accident that occurs on the property is the responsibility of the landlord, if he or she fails to maintain safe premises or does not fix known hazards, the victim may be entitled to compensation.
Landlords also have a common duty to protect tenants and their guests from foreseeable harm caused by criminal conduct. This includes providing adequate illumination inside and outside the building, functioning doors and locks and in some cases access control via a doorman or electronic key. Many tenants who have been the victim of theft, assault and other crimes have been awarded money damages because the landlord failed to take proper security measures.
In order to be liable for an injury or death, the landlord must have failed to take reasonable steps to stop a foreseeable accident from happening. In 2011, the number of suits filed against landlords to the New York Housing Authority rose by 40% from the previous year. Of these cases, 95% involved a landlord who retained an attorney, while 90% of the victims did not. Working with a New York personal injury attorney experienced in landlord negligence may help you collect compensation for your losses including medical expenses, lost wages, property damage and pain and suffering.
Contact Okun, Oddo & Babat to arrange an appointment with an experienced New York attorney to review the details of your case residential or commercial landlord negligence case.
Article by Shea Bergesen for Lavery Design Associates, Ltd.
copyright 2013. This article may not be reproduced without permission from the author.