Visitor Question

Is landlord liable for actions of tenant which cause personal injury?

Submitted By: Ferdy (Los Angeles, CA)

I received a demand letter from my neighbor’s lawyer demanding money for settlement, stating that my tenant had done personal injury to them.

The neighbor’s lawyer advised me to turn in the letter to my homeowner’s insurance company and if they don’t hear from me, they will file a lawsuit against me.

As a landlord, am I liable for the actions of my tenant if they cause personal injury to another? Any info you can give would be appreciated.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Ferdy,

Under most circumstances a landlord is not liable for personal injuries a tenant inflicts upon a 3rd party.

There are circumstances in which a tenant inflicts injuries upon a 3rd party and such infliction of injuries is purposeful and therefore, criminal. In such cases if the landlord influences the tenant, directly or indirectly, to perpetrate what would be a criminal assault, the landlord would probably be held liable for the tenant’s actions.

There are other instances in which a landlord may be held liable for a tenant’s action in his assault of a 3rd party. Those would include circumstances in which the landlord knew, or should have known, the tenant has a criminal record for assaults, or the landlord was in some other manner aware of the tenant’s propensity for assaulting other people.

If though you had no idea, or reason to know the tenant had a propensity to assault people you should escape liability for the injuries he might inflict on 3rd parties. In addition, if the tenant, independent of notice to you, commits the crime of assault against a 3rd party, you should also escape liability.

A landlord cannot be held liable for the actions of a tenant unless the landlord had the actual or constructive notice we set out above.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: August 18, 2011

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