Landlords and in some cases rental agents who act on their behalf, owe a duty of care to tenants to provide a safe and habitable property. This requires them to take reasonable care to avoid foreseeable risk of harm to the tenant and other entrants at the property.
To discharge their duty of care, Landlords should:
If the Landlord or their agent fails to do this and someone sustains an injury in a rental property due to the property being in disrepair, they can be sued for injury compensation.
In order to claim injury compensation from your landlord or rental agent for injuries sustained at a rented property, you need to show that they were somehow negligent. Negligence occurs where someone fails to take reasonable care to avoid a foreseeable risk of injury.
A landlord or rental agent may be found liable for your an injury in a rental property, if the injuries result from a dangerous condition or state of disrepair at your premises:
Common situations resulting in landlord liability include:
Example: Fiona is seriously injured when her hand accidentally strikes and shatters a glass door in her rental apartment. The door was not fitted with safety glass as required by the current building code, as it was not mandatory at the time the apartment was built. However the landlord replaced the glass panel in the door a month ago due to a burglary attempt and had not installed safety glass in compliance with the code. The landlord is likely to be held liable for Anita’s injuries because he failed to ensure property repairs complied with relevant building codes.
Jeff advises his landlord of some faulty electrical wiring in his kitchen, so the landlord gets his handyman brother-in-law to fix the electrical work for him. The handyman rewires the electrical cables in a negligent way causing metal components in the kitchen to be “live”. Jeff subsequently suffers a severe electric shock when he touches a tap. The landlord is likely to be liable for Jeff’s injuries because it failed to ensure that the works were performed in a safe manner by a qualified tradesman.
More info - get more information about public place injury claims.
Figuring out whether or not your landlord is liable in a particular situation can be complex and may require thorough analysis. Always speak with a qualified personal injury lawyer and get reliable advice about your legal options.
Example: Due to prolonged heavy rain one day, water seeps in through the walls of Jeff’s home and accumulates on his kitchen tiles. Jeff slips in a pool of water and seriously injures his leg and back. The water had never accumulated in the kitchen before when it rained and there was no other indication that the gutters would not cope with a prolonged heavy downpour as it rarely occurred. Jeff’s landlord is unlikely to be liable for his injuries as he was unaware of any defect which if fixed, could have prevented Jeff’s fall.
Fiona sustains serious spinal injuries after slipping and falling down an internal flight of carpeted stairs at her rental home. Although the stairs do not meet minimum building requirements the landlord is not aware of this as it is not obvious to a lay person. The landlord is not required to take steps beyond what is reasonable to discover and repair any risk of injury. Therefore he is not liable for Fiona’s injuries.
If there is a defect or condition at your property that you feel is unsafe or could cause an injury, its important to inform your rental agent or landlord as soon as possible. If you fail to give your landlord notice of a hazard, and it does cause an injury, you may not be able to claim compensation.
It is best to provide notice in writing (letter, email or SMS) so that you can keep a record of what you told the landlord and when. Be clear and provide as much detail as possible about the defect and what you could foresee happening if it is not repaired.
If you have a pre-existing medical condition which you believe may be aggravated or affected by the hazard or defect at your property you should include information about this in your notice to the landlord.
It’s important to get advice for your specific situation. Check if you can make a risk-free compensation claim and get free initial advice from our Principal lawyer, Greg Smith.