Sep 122013

Tenants and their guests who are injured in fall accidents often ask whether the landlord is liable for the accident. The answer depends on the circumstances of the case and more importantly, the type of landlord.

In fall down accident cases, Pennsylvania courts recognize different types of liability, based on the type of landlord. There are landlords “out of possession” and landlords who are in possession, i.e., maintain an office on the premises or otherwise control the shared or common areas of the property, such as the sidewalks in a large apartment complex.

Pennsylvania Landlord Liability – Falls at Individual Properties, Home Rentals

Under Pennsylvania fall accident law, landlords may be deemed “out of possession,” which means that a landlord does not retain any control over the rental property. An example of landlord “out of possession” is a private individual who rents a single family home to a tenant. The landlord retains no right of possession.

These types of landlords are generally not liable for fall accidents on the premises except in specific circumstances. That is because they are technically not in possession of the premises.

For instance, the landlord could be liable if a defect existed at the time the landlord gave up possession (i.e., rented the property). However, it must be proved that the defect existed at that time.

For example, a renter/tenant rents a house from a landlord. The landlord forgets to tell the tenant that the rail to the stairway has become loose. A few days later, the tenant falls down the stairs, when the rail comes loose and separates from the wall.

In addition, a landlord might be liable if he elects to repair a problem himself and fails to do it correctly. For instance, a porch step becomes loose. If the landlord negligently repairs the step and the tenant or guest falls and becomes injured as a result, the landlord could be held liable.

Click here for part two of this article: Landlord Liability for Falls at Apartment Complexes

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Pennsylvania & New Jersey Fall Accident Lawyers

Schwartz & Blackman has been representing the injured and their families for over thirty years in fall accident cases. Our firm offers a free consultation for all Pennsylvania and New Jersey injury and accident victims. Call now and ask for your free consultation. 215.925.4451

Schwartz & Blackman handles fall down accident cases in the Pennsylvania and New Jersey area:

  • PA: Berks County, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, Philadelphia County, Allentown, Lehigh Valley, Norristown, Philadelphia
  • NJ: Atlantic County, Burlington County, Camden County, Gloucester County, Mercer County, Middlesex County, Monmouth County, Camden, Cherry Hill, New Jersey shore cities

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