Renting a home has become very attractive in today’s economy, especially when many families don’t want to deal
with the hassles of a mortgage and being responsible for their own home repairs. Finding an apartment or duplex that fits your needs usually means you gain access to a maintenance crew as well. However, inviting workers in to complete some much needed repairs could compromise the safety of the home. Slips and trips injure thousands of people per year, with some of them dying or experiencing a debilitating injury. Since the mess and tools of home repairs create extra trip hazards, it is important to know who is responsible for the safety of the property while repairs are ongoing.
Responsibility For The Area
When assessing the liability for an injury, the entire conversation starts with an examination of where the slip took place. In most cases, leases only stipulate maintenance for the interior of the rental property and rarely cover sidewalk cleaning or driveway shoveling for renters. If you slip on the sidewalk but the lease didn’t mention anything about keeping it clear, it’s still the renter’s liability.
Of course, the landlord or a professional hired by the property owner must be the one working on the repairs that cause your injury. Renters doing it themselves that trip over a hammer or step into a missing stair tread can’t put the responsibility back onto the landlord.
The Risk Of Negligence
When a landlord is negligent, they are failing to take care of a responsibility that is within their power to change. For example, refusing to repair a leaky toilet after a renter notifies you makes you negligent if the puddle causes them to slip. This same concept applies when you are making the requested repairs and someone is injured on the equipment or around the scene of the work.
It is crucial to keep tools and equipment organized and out of the way when working, and to mark off any dangerous areas. Photographic evidence that you took these steps while repairing the rental property might be your only defense against a claim of negligence. Demonstrating that you took as much care as possible to minimize injury risks is important, and sometimes only photographic or video evidence can help with that.
Injuries are also required in the case of negligence. If a renter is upset that their home is cluttered as you make repairs, they can’t simply fake a slip and hold it against you. A tenant will have to prove their injuries before making a claim to hold a property owner responsible for the accident. If no injuries occur, it’s not important who was responsible or why it even happened.
Construction Crews Pose A Different Problem
Due to premises liability law, only the creator of the dangerous situation can be held responsible for it. This usually means that a landlord isn’t at fault if a crew makes a mess and the tenant is injured by it. However, hiring unlicensed or otherwise untrustworthy workers could make the whole argument a lot more complicated. Completing due diligence in this kind of case means hiring experienced, licensed, and insured workers. The right repair crews will be able to make insurance claims and pay the tenant’s bills if there is a legitimate injury as they work.