Can a NYC Tenant Sue a Landlord for Injury on a Rental Property?

Disputes between landlords and tenants often deal with repairs and dangers on the property.  When tenants repeatedly inform their landlords of issues and the landlords do not take action, the tenants or their guests could be seriously injured.  But are these tenants allowed to sue their landlords for injuries?

In many cases, injured tenants are indeed allowed to sue a landlord for injuries at a rented property.  Sometimes, complex rules in their lease may block lawsuits or require certain steps to be taken, but a lawyer can help you navigate these issues.

The NYC premises liability attorneys at The Carrion Law Firm fight to help injured tenants and guests sue landlords for dangers and get the compensation they need for their injures.  For help with your case, call us today at (718) 841-0083.

When Can You Sue a Landlord for Injuries in NYC?

In most injury cases that occur because of dangers on someone’s property, you can sue the property owner.  These owners have a duty to keep the place safe for guests and to clear up any hidden dangers – or at least warn people of those dangers.  In rental properties – whether that be an apartment, a vacation rental, or even a commercial property – these rules can be a bit more complex.

Injuries Inside the Rental Property

If you are a tenant renting an apartment, vacation rental, or commercial property from a landlord in NYC, you may be able to sue them for some injuries inside your unit.  However, the injuries have to be caused by something the landlord did or failed to do.

If the property had something like unsafe wiring that sparked a fire or a structurally unsound roof that led to a collapse, these injuries are likely the landlord’s fault.  You may also be able to sue for unsafe living conditions in an apartment that caused exposure injuries or for things like broken smoke detectors that allowed you to be injured in a fire. Talk with our New York City attorney for deaths caused by residential house fires today. 

However, you must always link the injury back to something that the property owner did wrong.  If the injury was related to something under your control instead of the landlord’s, that injury might not be the landlord’s fault.  For example, a tenant who left a spill on the floor then slipped on it later would not have a case against the landlord.  But a guest who slipped on a spill like that might be able to sue the tenant that controls the day-to-day conditions of the property.  This often happens in lawsuits against stores where the property is a rented commercial space.

Some injuries inside a rental unit are the fault of some third party.  For example, if a faulty stove causes a fire because of a gas leak, that might be the manufacturer’s responsibility instead of the landlord’s.

Injuries in Common Areas

Injuries that happen in common areas of the building like lobbies, stairwells, and elevators might be the landlord’s fault as well.  In these areas, no one tenant is in charge of keeping the area safe, and that responsibility should fall to the landlord or property manager.  This might be the case even if you were leasing as a sublet or renting from an Airbnb rental hosted by a tenant in the building. Talk with our New York City Attorney for Injuries Caused by Residential House Fires for more information.

In these injury cases, you still need to prove that the landlord did something wrong.  Landlords and property owners are expected to be in control of their properties, but new defects or dangers might be unknown to them.  However, if the danger was previously reported and the landlord did not fix it or put up a warning sign in a reasonable amount of time, then they should be held responsible for the injuries that danger caused.

This kind of liability could occur in any of the following situations:

  • Icy sidewalk injuries outside an apartment
  • Falls on uneven stairs
  • Falls from broken handrails
  • Slips and trips in poorly lit stairwells
  • Elevator drops or malfunctions
  • Slips in wet or unreasonably dirty lobbies
  • Broken or malfunctioning fire doors
  • Broken or malfunctioning alarm systems

Negligent Security

Landlords might also bear some responsibility in cases of negligent security.  If a locked door or buzzer system was malfunctioning and people without approved access got into the building and injured people inside, that could be the landlord’s fault.  A landlord could bear at least partial responsibility even though the individual assailant would bear most of the responsibility in an intentional injury case.  Check with our NYC personal injury lawyers for help with a case like this.

Suing a Landlord or Owner for Rental Injuries in NYC

The terms of your lease are going to dictate specifics about when and why you can sue the landlord or whatever party you are renting from.  Most landlords include language in leases to try to reduce responsibility and block lawsuits.  However, some of this language only applies to lawsuits dealing with rent payment and financial issues.  In many cases, landlords cannot contract out of injury lawsuits.

You should always work with a lawyer to sue a landlord.  Once you are injured and the landlord finds out that there might be legal issues with you, they may begin aggressive campaigns to try to evict you or to repair the defects and hide any evidence of wrongdoing.  Eviction might not be an issue in a short-term rental, but it is important to work with a lawyer quickly to lock down the evidence you need and get the necessary paperwork filed for your injury case.

Much of the evidence of your injury will be in the landlord’s control.  For example, if someone else reported the danger or defect to them, the record of that communication should be in the landlord’s files. Your Brooklyn personal injury lawyer will need that communication to show the court that the landlord was on notice that the defect existed and that the defect was not repaired in a reasonable time.

The landlord might also have repair logs, security camera footage, and other evidence that can help with your case.  We can subpoena this evidence in court to get the full picture of what happened and use the evidence in a lawsuit.

Call Our NYC Premises Liability Attorneys for Help

If you need help with an injury case in an apartment or other rented property, call The Carrion Law Firm today.  Our Queens personal injury attorneys offer free case reviews.  Our number is (718) 841-0083.