A landlord is liable for the injuries to a tenant if the injuries were caused by negligence on the part of the landlord. Therefore, it is extremely important that landlords take care to prevent such injuries. Also, a landlord should be aware what constitutes negligence on his part.
Negligence Per Se
A landlord is said to be guilty of ‘negligence per se' if the tenant's injuries were caused because the landlord failed to comply with a legal duty. For instance, if a tenant suffers an injury due to an electrical fitting installed by the landlord and if that electrical fitting turns out to be not one complying with the standards prescribed by law, the landlord will be held liable for the injury caused to the tenant.
Proof of Negligence
In situations apart from negligence per se, the tenant has to prove that the injury caused to him/her was due to negligence by the landlord.
The parameter used to assess negligence is ‘standard of care’. Standard of care is the minimum prudence that should be showed by a person in a particular circumstance. In the case of landlords, the ‘standard of care’ required is ‘reasonable care’. A court first ascertains how a reasonable landlord would act in the given situation. Then, the court examines whether the degree of care observed by the accused landlord is at the minimum what a reasonable landlord would have observed.
Depending on the situation, a court may also decide that the landlord should have exhibited a standard of care higher than reasonable care. Such situations mostly involve injuries caused to children or the disabled.
There are two kinds of damages tenants can claim against landlords for injuries caused to them due to the negligence of the landlords. They are 1) General Damages and 2) Special Damages. The injury’s nature and circumstances of the case determine the whether general damages and/or special damages apply.
General damages deal with compensation for the physical, mental, emotional, or other injuries suffered by the tenant as a result of the negligence of the landlord.
Special damages deal with the compensation for the financial losses caused to the tenant by the negligence of the landlord. These include the cost of rehabilitation, cost of medical treatment, and other pecuniary losses.
As tenants being injured is not in the best interests of both the landlords and the tenant, landlords must try their best to avoid situations that could result in injuries for the tenants.