The landlord is often responsible for a tenant’s slip and fall injury in Pennsylvania. However, the degree of the landlord’s responsibility depends on a number of factors. This includes the terms and conditions outlined in the lease, the evidence of negligence on the landlord’s behalf, and whether the landlord was aware of the hazard causing the injury.
If you were injured in a slip and fall accident in a rented property, whether residential or commercial, it’s worth your time to investigate if your landlord might be responsible. A premises liability lawyer from Cordisco & Saile LLC can help. For a free case evaluation with a member of our staff, call us today at 215-642-2335.
Holding a Landlord Responsible for Your Slip and Fall Injury in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania has strict premises liability laws holding owners and managers responsible for injuries that occur on their properties from unaddressed dangers. But in landlord-tenant situations, the law can be murkier, as tenants often assume many responsibilities for the upkeep of a property when they sign a lease.
To give an example, a person who slips and falls on someone else’s property because of a water spill probably has grounds to sue the owner or manager for their injuries.
But if the injured party is the tenant and the property owner is the landlord, and the tenant causes the spill resulting in their injury, then it’s not reasonable to hold the landlord responsible for everything that occurs inside their property when another party is renting and occupying it.
The Terms and Conditions of the Lease
Three basic questions govern whether the tenant or the landlord is responsible for a tenant’s slip and fall injury (or, alternatively, if both parties share in the blame). The first is, “what are the terms and conditions of the lease?”
One of the reasons lease agreements are so detailed is to preemptively sort out legal problems. A thorough lease agreement should lay out every responsibility of the landlord’s as well as the responsibilities of the tenant.
If the tenant is responsible for the maintenance of the property’s interior for the duration of their lease, the landlord may not be held liable for an injury occurring inside the property from a dangerous condition.
However, the tenant in this scenario still should contact a slip and fall lawyer to discuss their options, as many provisions in contracts can be open to interpretation and debate.
Evidence of Landlord’s Negligence
Next, we ask: Is there evidence the landlord’s negligence contributed to the injury in any way? If so, the landlord may be responsible even if the terms and conditions of the lease suggest they are not.
Here’s an example in which a landlord’s negligence could override what is written in a lease agreement: A tenant agrees to the upkeep of the inside of a rental property but is never told about a loose stair down to the cellar before moving in.
The tenant slips on the loose stair, falls to the bottom of the steps, and suffers serious injuries. In this scenario, ample evidence exists that the landlord was negligent in allowing the loose stair to remain as a new tenant signed a lease for the property. The tenant could hold the landlord liable for their injuries.
Was the Landlord Aware
It also matters whether the landlord was aware of the hazardous condition causing the tenant’s injury. In the example of a loose stair in a rental house, the tenant’s case is a lot more clear-cut if they can show the landlord was aware of the loose stair before the tenant moved in.
If, on the other hand, the hazardous condition developed after the tenant signed the lease, then the situation becomes more unclear. So it’s important to meet with a premises liability lawyer in Pennsylvania as soon as possible after a slip and fall injury in a rental property.
Call Us Today to Discuss Your Premises Liability Case
The premises liability legal team at Cordisco & Saile LLC helps clients injured in slip and fall accidents recover damages. If you suffered an injury after falling at a rental property, we can collect evidence and hold the landlord responsible. For a free case evaluation with a member of our staff, call 215-642-2335 today.