Isenberg & Hewitt, PC | A Business And Personal Injury Law Firm | Since 1989
Isenberg & Hewitt, PC | A Business And Personal Injury Law Firm | Since 1989
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Are landlords liable for criminal acts at apartment buildings?

On Behalf of | Jul 28, 2022 | Premises Liability

When you rent an apartment or go visit a friend who lives at one, you could have a reasonable expectation of safety. Landlords have an obligation to keep apartment buildings appropriately safe, and making an adequate investment in security is an important part of that responsibility.

Anywhere people live could a location that criminals target. Those who intend to steal from residents or commit acts of physical violence may try to gain access to the property.

The higher the density of people living in one space and the fewer security measures there are, the more likely those aspiring criminals are to target the building or its surrounding grounds, like the parking lot. Is the landlord at the property responsible when tenants or visitors become victims of crime?

Was the criminal act reasonably foreseeable?

To bring a premises liability claim against a building owner or landlord, you typically need to show that they either broke the law or were negligent in how they maintained their facilities. Certain kinds of criminal activity are reasonably predictable, which means that landlords should recognize these risks and take steps to minimize them.

Thieves might try to gain entrance to large apartment buildings, which is why exterior security doors can be as important as individual locking doors for each unit. Violent criminals might target dark outdoor spaces like alleys and parking lots, especially if there are no security professionals or cameras visible. Adding obvious security cameras and proper lighting could help deter many crimes.

Research has shown that security measures do help to deter some crime, even if security measures can not eradicate the risk of criminal activity. When there is a security guard walking around or even motion-activated lights in a parking lot, an opportunistic criminal may decide that a different location is a better option.

If a review of the premises where the crime occurred makes it clear that minimal security measures could have protected you, you may have grounds to bring a claim against the property owner or landlord. Premises liability claims may involve insurance policies, and sometimes they lead to civil litigation. Understanding when apartment buildings create premises liability for landlords can help those affected by inadequate security measures.


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