A Landlord’s Duty to Maintain Rental Properties
In Virginia, landlords have a duty to maintain their rental properties in a reasonably safe condition and not allow hazardous conditions to exist on the property. When they breach this duty and a tenant, or their guest, is injured in a slip and fall accident, they may be responsible for compensating the victim for their medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
There are many ways that a landlord can breach their duties to tenants that cause slip and fall accidents. Common examples include:
- The landlord failed to fix broken lighting or provided inadequate lighting for the property.
- The landlord failed to repair leaking plumbing or a leaking roof.
- The landlord failed to replace cracked or broken flooring, or worn carpet.
- The landlord did not repair or replace a loose or broken handrail or damaged steps.
- The landlord allowed cracks and potholes to exist in the parking lot.
- The landlord failed to remove snow or ice from the parking lot, sidewalks, or entrances to the rental property.
Importance of Proving the Landlord Knew of the Dangerous Condition
Landlords are not always liable if a tenant falls at their rental property. In order to hold them responsible for their slip and fall accident, a tenant would need to prove that their landlord knew or should have known of the hazard and failed to correct the problem or post a warning sign of the danger within a reasonable amount of time.
Proving a landlord knew or should have known about an unsafe condition can be challenging. Some of the ways a tenant can establish this include:
- Their testimony that they told the landlord about the problem or sent them an email or letter informing them of it
- Testimony of other tenants who reported the hazardous condition to the landlord
- Landlord’s inspection records of the property
- Employee statements
- Photos of the dangerous condition
- Building inspection reports
- Other business records of the landlord
If you suffered injuries in a slip and fall accident at a rental property, you need the assistance of an experienced premises liability attorney to prove your case and go up against the insurance company so that you receive all the compensation you deserve. At Tavss Fletcher, we handle these cases on a contingency fee basis, so you only owe us attorney fees when we settle your claim. Contact our office to schedule a free case evaluation to learn about your rights and how we can help you.