Can I Sue my Landlord if I Was Robbed on the Property?
No one ever wants to think that someone could break into their apartment unit and rob them. Or that they could be approached by a criminal and robbed while they were simply crossing the parking lot of their building trying to get into their home. Unfortunately, it happens all too often. While victims may initially be traumatized and not thinking of anything other than trying to deal with the robbery, they may eventually wonder whether they can sue their landlord or the property management company for the robbery. Like most legal matters, it depends.
If the landlord did not provide a safe and secure environment for their tenants, someone who was robbed on the property may be able to sue their landlord for the incident. Landlords have a responsibility to ensure their property is kept safe, this includes ensuring that parking lots, units, and common areas such as hallways, have proper lighting at all times. It also includes ensuring that all entry doors and windows to both units and common areas have working locks so uninvited visitors cannot enter.
These are just a few of the security responsibilities landlords have and when they have failed to meet those standards, it may be possible to sue a landlord for their negligence that leads to a robbery.
There are certain caveats to this, though. One of those is whether the lease includes an arbitration clause. More rental agreements are incorporating these clauses into them. Essentially, they state that tenants cannot sue a landlord if something happens on the property. Instead, they must go through mediation and, if that is unsuccessful, through arbitration.
Still, these arbitration claims will not always hold up in court. And they certainly may not protect a landlord that was grossly negligent and caused a tenant severe injuries or property damage after a robbery. Often, negligent security lawyers can prepare arguments to render these agreements null and void when a landlord has been so negligent that a tenant has experienced great harm from a robbery.
When landlords and tenants enter into a rental agreement with each other, they both have responsibilities. Landlords have a responsibility to not only provide a habitable living space but to also ensure tenants are kept safe while on the property. When landlords have not met that responsibility, they can often be held responsible. After a tenant or visitor has been robbed on the apartment building’s property, they should always speak to a personal injury attorney. An attorney could review all the details of the case, as well as the lease, and advise victims on whether it is possible to sue the landlord for their role in causing the robbery.