Georgia law requires all landlords and property owners to provide a safe environment for those they invite to live in or visit their properties. That includes a duty to warn of hazards and to take certain security measures, especially when there is a reason to believe that there is criminal activity in the area.
When someone is injured due to a failure to live up to their security responsibilities as an Atlanta landlord or property owner, you may be able to file a lawsuit on grounds of negligent security. As the injured party, you may be entitled to compensation from the owner, manager, or occupant of the property for any losses you sustained because of their failure to maintain a safe environment for you. For more information about Atlanta landlord/property owner responsibilities, contact a knowledgeable premises liability attorney.
What Constitutes Negligent Security in Atlanta?
In all cases involving legal negligence in which an injured party seeks to recover compensation from another person for negligent behavior, certain factors must generally be proven.
First, the allegedly negligent party—in this case, the property owner or management company—must have had a duty to undertake certain conduct. Second, the property owner or landlord must have breached the duty, meaning that they failed to fulfill it. Third, the breach or failure must have caused the injury complained of. And finally, the injury must have resulted in damage that can be quantified.
Since the harm in negligent security situations stems from a third party rather than the landlord, the criminal act must have been foreseeable by the landlord or property management company in order for that person or company to be held liable. For instance, if similar crimes were committed on the premises or nearby in the recent past, the act would likely be considered foreseeable.
In addition, if a dangerous or disruptive situation developed on the property over the course of time, such as an ongoing dispute between two parties that was visible or audible to others, then criminal action erupting from that dispute could be considered foreseeable. Moreover, when a property is located in an area known for a high rate of crime, certain criminal actions might be considered foreseeable and the property owner would be expected to take security measures to prevent such crimes.
Common Security Responsibility for Private Property Owners and Managers
Every negligent security case is different, and both the location and prior history of a property affect the foreseeability of a criminal act. Accordingly, there is no blanket standard of what protections are adequate or when the lack of a security measure should be considered negligent.
Types of security measures that courts have historically held landlords liable for failing to provide include:
- Lack of security guards or missing security guards;
- Allowing windows, doors, fences or gates to remain in a state of disrepair;
- Poor training of security guards or other personnel;
- Lack of security cameras;
- Inadequate lighting;
- Lack of security fencing or locks.
However, a failure to maintain tenant safety must cause an injury in order for someone who is attacked to obtain compensation from the landlord or property owner. For example, if a tenant was attacked in their building’s parking lot, and the owner or manager’s failure to replace burned-out lights in the lot enabled a perpetrator to catch tenants unawares in the past there, the landlord’s failure to act could be considered the cause of the attack in that parking lot, because of the foreseeability of the repeated criminal act. Knowing how an Atlanta landlord/property owner’s security responsibilities apply to a case can be difficult, which is why it is important to seek the services of an experienced attorney.
Learn More About the Security Responsibilities of Landlords and Other Property Owners in Atlanta
The security responsibilities of property owners in the Atlanta area are not always easy to ascertain, as the duties owed to tenants and others vary depending on the circumstances. For more information about Atlanta landlord/property owner security responsibilities, it may be helpful to consult an attorney with experience in premises liability issues. Call today and set up an initial consultation with a dedicated lawyer.