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Landlords’ responsibility for assaults on their property

You were on your way to do laundry, walking in the stairwell of your apartment building. That is when the attack occurred. You were punched from behind then kicked and beaten by an assailant who stole your wallet, smartphone and dignity.

This likely was preventable and a prime example of negligent security. Landlords and property owners are legally responsible to provide protection to anyone who visits their premises from apartment complexes and office buildings to restaurants and retail stores. Landlords must take reasonable steps to make tenants and visitors safe from dangers related to thieves, assailants and other tenants.

Must take reasonable measures

Among the reasonable security-related measures required by landlords include:

  • Providing adequate lighting: Hallways, stairwells, common areas, parking lots and parking ramps must have lighting. Poor and non-functioning lighting provides ideal backdrops for assailants.
  • Installing solid, good-working locks and windows: No locks and non-functioning locks provide ample opportunity for criminals.
  • Installing security cameras: Cameras serve as a deterrent for criminals. Also, make sure that there are enough properly trained security staff monitoring these cameras.
  • Conducting background checks: This relates to prospective tenants (primarily for apartment complexes).
  • Implementing policies addressing security matters: Having plans and policies in place may give prospective tenants certain peace of mind knowing that the landlord takes security seriously.

Landlords and property owners who neglect to provide reasonable steps to protect tenants are liable, especially when they recognize that the possibility of harm exists.

A preventable attack

The memories related to any type of assault live with victims for a long, long time. Victims experience pain and suffering along with the costs related to medical treatment and physical and mental therapy. When the negligence of a landlord and property owner surfaces in assaults, it makes it even more difficult to accept.