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Are Landlords Liable for Slip and Fall Injuries?

November 10 2022 | Personal Injury

Slip and fall accidents are a common cause of serious injuries and visits to emergency rooms in Connecticut. If a slip or trip and fall injury occurs on a rental property, it is possible to hold the landlord liable in some scenarios. The liable party in this type of premises liability lawsuit depends on where the victim was and why the accident took place.

What Is a Landlord’s Duty of Care to Renters?

A landlord in charge of a rental property is viewed as the controller of the premises in the eyes of the law, even if he or she is not the owner of the property. This means the landlord has all the same duties of care as a property owner. Under Connecticut’s premises liability laws, a property owner or controller is responsible for ensuring the reasonable safety of the premises before welcoming guests.

This duty of care comes with three main responsibilities regarding invited guests (invitees), including tenants:

  • Periodically inspect the property for any new or hidden injury risks.
  • Repair any known or discovered property defects in a reasonable amount of time.
  • Warn visitors of any existing injury risks on the property that may not be obvious.

If a landlord fails to fulfill the duties of care that he or she owes to property visitors and tenants, the landlord could be held liable for a related slip and fall accident. However, there must be clear and convincing evidence that the landlord owned or controlled the property, caused the hazardous condition or negligently failed to repair a known property defect, and that this act of negligence is what caused the victim’s injury. These are the elements required for a successful premises liability lawsuit in Connecticut.

Landlord Liability in Common Areas vs. Private Spaces

In the case of a landlord controlling a rental unit that is occupied by a renter or tenant, Connecticut’s Renters’ Rights and Laws require the landlord to ensure that the building, apartments and common areas are safe for guests. Common areas include stairways, yards, hallways, driveways and laundry rooms. Under state law, a landlord must take the following steps to make sure a rental unit is safe:

  • Make all repairs necessary to keep the apartment safe and livable.
  • Keep appliances, plumbing, electrical and heating systems in proper working order.
  • Arrange for trash removal services.
  • Ensure an adequate supply of running water, hot water and heat.
  • Remove any paint that contains illegal and dangerous amounts of lead.

Repairs to make an apartment safe can include fixing any hazards on the premises that could potentially cause a slip and fall accident. This includes any uneven floor surfaces or curbs, broken stairs and handrails, loose rugs or carpeting, exposed cords, cluttered walkways, and inadequate lighting. A landlord is responsible for the safety of all common areas on the property, the exterior of the building and elements that are part of the building’s infrastructure inside of a rental unit. However, a landlord is not responsible for the safety of a tenant’s personal items inside an apartment.

How to Hold a Landlord Liable for a Slip and Fall

A claim against a landlord for a slip and fall in Connecticut must be brought within two years from the date of the accident. This is Connecticut’s statute of limitations on all personal injury and premises liability claims, with some exceptions. After a harmful slip and fall accident in a rental unit or apartment complex, contact an attorney right away for a legal consultation.

An attorney will listen to your story and let you know if you have grounds to bring a claim against the landlord or property owner. If so, you may recover financial compensation from the at-fault party for your hospital bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and other losses connected to your accident. A lawyer can help you establish a case against a landlord and negotiate for maximum financial compensation.

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