Injury In A Rental Property

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. 

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To discharge their duty of care, Landlords should:

  • arrange for regular building inspections to be conducted,
  • perform repairs promptly when required and
  • hire appropriately qualified tradespeople to perform the work.

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.

Injured? Get expert advice now: Smith's are Queensland's only 100% risk-free injury compensation lawyers. Insist on our 'No Win. No Fee. No Catch' ® promise. Check your rights with no risk or obligations now and talk direct to our Principal lawyer, Greg Smith. Call 1800 266 801 OR  check if you can claim

I sustained an injury in a rental property - can I sue my landlord?

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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:

  • which had not been identified because the landlord or their estate agent failed to conduct regular inspections; or
  • which they were warned of but failed to properly rectify within a reasonable time.

Common situations resulting in landlord liability include:

  • the premises being in a state of disrepair
  • mould and moss accumulating on outdoor surfaces causes a slip hazard
  • building standards are not met; or
  • fire safety standards not met.
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.

When will a landlord not be liable for an injury in a rental property?

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  • A landlord will not be held liable for injuries that are caused by a defect, hazard or condition that they did not know about and could not have reasonably known about.
  • A landlord’s duty of care does not require him or her to make the rental premises “as safe as possible”.
  • Landlords are not required to replace an item which is not defective, simply because a safer item is available.

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.

My property is in disrepair how do I report issues to my landlord?

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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.

Next steps - get advice now

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.

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Disclaimer: This information is designed for general information in relation to Queensland compensation law. It does not constitute legal advice. We strongly recommend you seek legal advice in regards to your specific situation. For expert advice call 1800 266 801 or chat via live chat to arrange free initial advice with our Principal lawyer, Greg Smith.

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