Landlord Liability for Injury to Atlanta Tenants Caused by Hazardous Conditions


December 20, 2013

While many tenants struggle to persuade their landlord to make appropriate repairs and replace warn out appliances, the focus is often on comfort and convenience rather than safety. Landlords have a legal obligation to maintain rental property in a condition that is safe and secure for tenants. Sometimes tenants who do not fully appreciate their legal right to the use and enjoyment of rental premises free of unreasonable hazards are motivated to endure a "slumlord" mentality because of fears that their lease will not be renewed or that they will be exposed to other hassles by their landlord. However, tenants do not need to tolerate hazardous conditions that threaten the health and safety of occupants.

Our premises liability attorneys at Montlick and Associates have provided answers to frequently asked questions about the rights of tenants who suffer serious injury because of hazardous conditions on rental properties. While we have tried to address the most common concerns of tenants injured in apartments and other rental units, we invite you to contact us for your free consultation if you have specific questions about your situation.

Can the lease exempt my landlord from the duty to repair unsafe conditions like a broken step on the staircase?

Under Georgia landlord-tenant law, property owners who rent their property to tenants for residential purposes have a duty to make repairs to the premises. This obligation is a "non-delegable" duty to perform maintenance or repairs that make the premises suitable for the purposes intended at the time of the execution of the lease. However, the landlord may not be obligated to eradicate hazards that were obvious at the time the premises were leased to the tenant, depending on their nature and the facts.

What are the most common types of hazards on the premises of rental homes, apartment or condos that may be the cause of personal injuries?

While the range of hazards that may justify imposing liability on landlords for hazardous conditions on rental property are virtually unlimited, some of the most common examples include:

  • Broken steps
  • Missing or broken balcony staircase railings
  • Smoke alarms in disrepair
  • Inadequately maintained pools and spas
  • Uneven pavement
  • Failure to provide adequate security measures
  • Malfunctioning heaters
  • Fires caused by substandard wiring
  • Other hazardous conditions that violate building and safety codes

The landlord has a duty to make repairs to the extent necessary to render the premises suitable for the use intended by the tenant, but this might not apply for conditions that were present and obvious when the property was leased.

What types of damages can I seek for injuries suffered in a slip and fall or other accident caused by unsafe conditions in my rental unit?

Any tenant who suffers injury caused by hazardous conditions in his or her apartment or common areas of a rental property that the landlord did not repair may seek both economic and non-economic forms of loss, depending on the specific case, such as some or all of the following:

  • Medical bills, hospitalization costs and other expenses related to treatment
  • Lost income from time off work
  • Compensation for pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Adverse impact on enjoyment of life experiences
  • Loss of companionship, guidance and/or support of a spouse or child
  • Anticipated lost future income based on earning capacity
  • Punitive and other damages

Who might be liable if a guest is injured when visiting an apartment that I rent?

While the landlord may be responsible for hazardous conditions when visitors are harmed by unsafe conditions, a tenant may also be liable for hazardous condition within the tenant's rental unit. However, the tenant generally is not subject to liability for unsafe conditions in common areas of a rental complex unless the tenant was actually responsible for causing the hazardous condition, such as by spilling a slick substance and failing to clean it up.

Put Our Law Firm's Over 30 Years Experience to Work For You

If you are injured by a hazardous condition on rental property, our Georgia personal injury attorneys at Montlick and Associates have been representing injury victims for over thirty years throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you.

Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Personal Injury

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.