Renting a property requires a contractual obligation between a landlord and a tenant. As a tenant, you must obey the terms of the contract. However, your landlord also has a duty to uphold on their end.
If you become injured on the property, your landlord may liable under premises liability laws in Georgia. These laws apply whether you are renting residential or commercial property. The lawyers at T. Madden & Associates, P.C. can help you understand your options if you suffer a personal injury.
What Is a Landlord’s Legal Duty to Georgia Tenants?
Every landlord in Georgia is bound by a legal responsibility to keep their tenants safe. They must maintain rental properties to avoid certain hazards. Regular inspections should be conducted to ensure that any hazards are addressed and to prevent new ones from occurring.
If an injury occurs due to the landlord failing to keep the property safe and in good repair, then your landlord would be liable for your personal injury. According to GA Code § 44-7-13, a landlord is responsible for keeping the premises in repair. Furthermore, they will be liable for all substantial improvements on the premises that they have consented to perform. In other words, if you make modifications that the landlord didn’t agree to and it resulted in your injury, the landlord would not be liable.
Additionally, GA Code § 44-7-14 states that landlords are responsible for any damages that come from defective construction or if the landlord fails to keep the premises in good repair. If your injury occurs because you were negligent or engaging in illegal activity on the property, it will mean the landlord isn’t liable. The statute specifically states that your personal injury must occur as a result of your landlord’s negligence or defective construction.
Examples of Landlord Liability with Rental Property
If the stairs at your apartment building are damaged and your landlord does not repair them in a timely manner, you may have a premises liability case if you slip and fall on the broken step. The same would be true of any leaks your employer is aware of.
A landlord for a commercial property would face a similar fate if there was a roof leak that was neglected to be repaired in a timely fashion. If a customer slipped on the water that pooled on the floor of the store, the landlord would be liable.
However, if you play a part in creating the hazard, or if you purposely harmed yourself on a hazard you knew existed, you most likely do not have a case.
Understanding the Terms of Your Lease
Your lease can provide you with more clues as to liability. Landlords can’t disclaim premises liability in any lease agreement, but they can define things more thoroughly. As such, your lease may indicate what kinds of improvements or changes you are allowed to make on the property. It may also reveal when and how your landlord is allowed to provide inspections of the premises.
In the lease, it should state who is responsible for repairing and maintaining the property. There should additionally be a section that discusses notice requirements for maintenance and repairs. No matter what these terms state, a landlord cannot be fully released from liabilities and responsibilities related to safety and repair.
When you’re injured on your rental property, the best course of action is to discuss your case with a personal injury attorney to find out if the landlord is liable.