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Are Landlords Responsible for a Tenant’s Safety?

Posted on February 9, 2020 Personal Injury
When you sign a lease to rent a space, you become responsible for certain things, such as replacing the batteries in a fire alarm. Your landlord, however, will retain legal responsibility for other things. Your leasing agreement can describe which aspects of the home or apartment are your responsibility and which are your landlord’s. If an accident on your property injures you, the landlord may be liable for your damages.

Landlords’ Responsibilities Under Texas Law

Renting to a tenant does not remove 100% of a property owner’s responsibilities over the property. The owner will still have legal ties to the premises, as well as specific duties of care over the safety of tenants. These duties generally include overseeing the reasonable safety, livability, maintenance, and repair of the premises. If a landlord breaches any of his or her duties and a tenant suffers an injury as a result, the landlord could be legally responsible for damages. A landlord in Texas has a few specific responsibilities by law.
  • Habitable housing. In Texas, the law requires a landlord to keep rental properties livable. The implied warranty of habitability entitles tenants to safe and livable homes. A landlord is responsible for the essentials, such as a sturdy structure, safe floors, a roof that keeps out the elements and hot water.
  • Safety from toxic substances. A landlord must ensure the safety of a premises in terms of exposing tenants to toxic substances such as lead, asbestos and mold. Property owners must take reasonable steps to inspect a premises for toxic or hazardous substances and remedy any discovered risks.
  • Adequate security. It is also a landlord’s legal responsibility to keep a property reasonably safe from criminals. This may include tasks such as hiring a security guard, installing a gate, screening tenants and replacing locks.
  • Safe common areas. A landlord remains responsible over any shared or common areas on the property, such as hallways, common rooms, living areas, laundry rooms and grounds. Any property defects in common areas could lead to the landlord’s liability for accidents.
  • Safe hired help. If your landlord arranges a third party to conduct maintenance, inspections or repairs at a rented property, your landlord could be vicariously liable for any injuries or damages the paid worker or volunteer causes. These cases involve negligent undertaking laws.
A landlord must meet at least the minimum standards of care in maintaining a rental property. If a landlord breaches any of his or her duties of care and a tenant sustains an injury because of it, the landlord could be liable. As an injured tenant, you may be able to hold your landlord financially responsible for your damages in certain circumstances.

Do You Have a Case Against a Landlord?

In general, you will be able to hold your landlord financially responsible for your losses if he or she owed you a duty of care, negligently or intentionally breached this duty, caused your accident, and if you have damages as a result. These are the four main elements of a negligence claim against a landlord or property owner in Texas. You could be eligible for compensation if you have proof of all four elements. An attorney can help you understand your landlord’s specific responsibilities over your safety and that of your home or apartment, as well as whether your landlord violated these duties. If your personal injury lawyer in Dallas can present a strong claim to damages to an insurance company, judge or jury on your behalf, you may receive financial compensation for your losses. Your landlord may have to pay you a compensatory award for your related medical bills, property damage, lost wages, legal fees and other damages. Find out whether you can hold your landlord accountable as the responsible party after a premises-related accident on a rented property in Texas by contacting an attorney. A lawyer can help you pursue maximum compensation.