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Your Landlord Is Responsible For Your Structural Safety

While actually owning a home is often a long term goal for most people, it’s not something that can usually be achieved right away. For some, home ownership is something will eventually happen with a more stable income and a family to look after. For others, in dense urban centers, homeownership may not even be practical, and a downtown lifestyle makes more economic sense when you rent.

Renting a place to live involves a mix of responsibilities. You may live in an apartment or house, but you don’t own it, someone else—your landlord—does. And that means that there’s a division of who is responsible for what. You may be responsible for paying only some of your utilities, such as electricity, but not water, or none at all. You will usually be responsible for maintaining the residence in the same general condition that you found it in, so you can’t simply knock down a wall in order to make a room bigger for your home office needs.

This also means that some things are the responsibility of your landlord, and your general safety in the home is one of those things.

If The Home Injures You, It’s Not Your Fault

A good example of this would be the circumstances behind a fire. If, for example, you are a smoker, you lied to your landlord about being a smoker to move in, and then smoked in the home, if you fell asleep while smoking, dropped a lit cigarette and caused a fire, you would clearly be at fault. Not only did you lie about your smoking habits, but that deception combined with your carelessness led to a fire.

On the other hand, if your landlord had old knob and tube wiring in the home and failed to disclose this to you, this might be a big problem. This older form of wiring is not equipped to handle the demands that so many modern appliances, like computers, routers, TVs and window air conditioning units place on an electrical system. If a fire broke out in such a case because of an electrical failure, you couldn’t know the risk you were placing yourself at. If this is compounded by your landlord not putting in smoke alarms to warn residents of a fire, that is, again, a failure of property owner responsibility.

Protect Yourself & Your Rights

A landlord has the legal expectation that you will exercise reasonable care in the maintenance of a residence you are renting, but the actual safety precautions of a building are in the care of an owner. If you sustain an injury as a direct result of neglect for building safety, this is something that you, as a renter can take to court as a personal injury case against your landlord.

This is especially true when it comes to structural elements of a building. A poorly built staircase that is not repaired can cause people to easily slip, trip, or otherwise fall down the stairs. That type of basic structural integrity and safety is not something a renter is expected to pay for and maintain, that is the responsibility of the property owner.

If you live in a residence where the neglect of the structure has inflicted real injury on you or those close to you in the Sarasota or Charlotte counties, you can do something about it. Contact an experienced personal injury lawyer, explain your case, and see what can be done to help you get the fair resolution and justice you deserve in a situation that is not your fault.