Can I Sue My Landlord if I Was Hurt in a Shooting on the Property?
Unfortunately, homes are not always safe, particularly when the residents do not have total control over who is on the property, such as in apartment buildings. Sometimes the worst happens, physical attacks can occur and someone can get shot, even when they did not have anything to do with an altercation or the person that shot the gun. When this happens, can tenants sue their landlord or the property management company?
Regrettably, there is no clear answer. Landlords do have a responsibility to keep their tenants safe at all times. They must take standard measures such as keeping lights and locks in good condition. However, Georgian landlords are not always necessarily responsible for guaranteeing their tenants safety from crimes committed by third parties.
This means that, if another person not related to the apartment complex or rental home shoots a tenant, it does not automatically make the landlord responsible. This is particularly true if the landlord has fulfilled their standard duty of care, such as by providing proper lighting and locks.
However, there is one exception to this. When the landlord is aware that there are certain dangers around the building, they can be held liable for not maintaining a safe property. Perhaps there have been crimes committed on the property before or the complex is in a bad neighborhood and the landlord should have known there was a good chance of criminal activity occurring on or around the property.
When this is the case, the landlord has an added duty to keep the tenants safe. This could include installing intercoms and surveillance equipment or installing window bars in the units that are on the ground floor and easily accessible from the outside.
When any instance happens that poses a risk to the safety of the tenants on the property, the landlord should also be given written notice of the incident. When a landlord disregards this notice and continues to do nothing to ensure the property is kept safe, that failure to take safety precautions can further prove the landlord’s negligence.
Truthfully, no one can say whether a tenant has a valid basis for a lawsuit against a landlord after they have been shot without analyzing the specific facts of a case. It will largely depend on the circumstances surrounding the shooting, whether the landlord or property management company had taken standard security measures, and whether they had knowledge that a crime could potentially happen on the property. Anyone who finds themselves in this unfortunate situation should always speak to a negligent security attorney who could review their case and advise on them whether the landlord was negligent. After reviewing the facts of the situation, a lawyer could let you know whether you can sue your landlord if you were hurt in a shooting on the property.