Basically, landlord negligence occurs when landlords or building managers fail to do timely repairs, inspections or maintenance work. Although negligence laws specific to landlords vary in different regions and countries, if the landlord is shown to have willfully disregarded steps in property upkeep and tenant safety, he or she can usually be found negligible in a lawsuit. In most landlord negligence claims, the tenant is considered to have the right to expect that his or her rented property is to remain no worse or unsafe than when he or she moved in and signed the rental agreement.
Tenants are responsible for carefully reading a rental agreement before they sign, although by law, these agreements are not usually allowed to specify that basic maintenance is not the landlord's responsibility. In addition to this, many areas have laws as to when landlords must regularly inspect equipment such as electrical units and water heaters. The law typically holds landlords responsible for upkeep and actively overseeing that the property is in a safe, functioning order or a claim of landlord negligence is likely.
For example, if a water pipe bursts in a tenant's suite and the landlord is informed yet ignores the request, he or she can be charged with negligence. In a landlord negligence lawsuit, the tenant should try to have evidence that the landlord was contacted, especially if this occurred on several occasions. If the rental suite or the tenant's belongings become damaged from the neglect, the landlord is likely to have a claim for payment for these damages against him or her.
Not changing a light bulb in a common hallway or repairing a broken stair on a staircase on the property also usually constitutes landlord negligence. A tenant or visitor may trip or fall, causing injury. Any signs of mold or leaking water pipes anywhere in the building must be repaired promptly to avoid tenants becoming sick. A landlord is responsible for making certain that all areas of the building and property are safe. For instance, if a landlord doesn't do regular checks of the elevator, this is another area which constitutes negligence because tenant safety is placed at risk.
Not only keeping all areas safe, but also secure from intruders is another responsibility of the landlord. In many areas, if the landlord fails to notify law enforcement authorities of an attempted break in, it can constitute negligence. Failure to repair outdoor security lightning or report any suspicious behavior to the police and the tenants usually also constitutes landlord negligence.