Posted by: Kisling, Nestico & Redick, LLC
It’s not hard to think of a reason to want to sue your landlord. Landlords often cut corners, withhold maintenance and harass tenants. While all those reasons may be difficult to sue for, one thing to take very seriously is an injury you suffered as a tenant.
In Ohio, many rules govern when tenants can and can’t sue their landlords for negligence. Because this topic can be so confusing for injured tenants, we decided to break it down. But if you or a loved one are hurt, speak to an experienced premises liability lawyer right away.
Injuries in Common Areas
In an apartment complex, pretty much everything that isn’t a rented unit is a common area. Your landlord is responsible for maintaining these areas. If they fail to do that, you might be able to sue them if you’re injured as a result.
Imagine there’s a balcony overlooking the shared swimming pool in your complex. Now imagine that you leaned on the railing of that balcony, and it snapped, causing you to fall and injure your back.
In such a situation, you may be able to sue your landlord as an injured tenant. Why? Because the balcony was part of a common area, and the landlord was responsible for maintaining the railing. If it’s clear that they didn’t maintain the railing, and that’s why it broke, they may be liable for your injuries.
Often, landlords aren’t responsible for hazards inside tenants’ rented apartments or homes. The tenant is thought to be in charge of addressing any slip-and-fall hazards or similar dangers. But what if the landlord created a hazard through faulty workmanship inside the rented space? In such a case, they could be liable for injuries they cause.
Perhaps the landlord installed a shower railing incorrectly and in a way that would cause it to detach from the wall when you place weight on it. Then, the inevitable happens. You fall and suffer a severe injury.
You couldn’t have known about the hazard the landlord created in your home. And the landlord should have known better than to use shoddy workmanship. That’s why you may be able to sue your landlord in such a case.
Dangerous Conditions the Landlord Knew About
In most states, the above two kinds of landlord-tenant injury suits are the whole story. But Ohio has a third situation in which tenants may be able to sue their landlords. This one comes from a 1981 Ohio Supreme Court ruling.
In this case, a tenant suffered an injury after falling down the stairs in her apartment. Two of the steps were broken, creating a hazard. And the tenant had told the landlord about the issue. The landlord said the steps were not their responsibility. But the Ohio Supreme Court ruled otherwise. Because the landlord knew about the dangerous conditions inside the apartment, they were liable for the resulting injuries.
This sets the stage for more tenant-landlord lawsuits over similar issues. But proving landlord negligence can be tricky. For help, reach out to an attorney.
Injured in Your Apartment or Rented Home? Call a Lawyer
Getting compensation for an injury in a rental property isn’t easy. State laws are fairly protective of landlords. Their liability is limited in many cases. While the main exceptions are injuries in common areas, faulty workmanship, and conditions the landlord knew about, these are not the only reasons to sue a landlord.
At Kisling, Nestico & Redick, we can help injured tenants get what they’re owed from their landlords.