Many people visit Florida, and we can’t blame them. Our state’s terrific year-round weather is a magnet that draws residents from colder states, and Florida is not short on things to do. Instead of staying in a hotel, some people rent a vacation home, especially for extended stays. But what happens if a renter is injured in the home? Who is responsible?
Owners Owe a Duty to Keep the Property Safe
Florida’s premises liability law applies in vacation rental cases. This law imposes a duty on property owners to take reasonable steps to keep the property safe. The key word is “reasonable.” An owner should inspect the property and correct any defects that are dangerous. If the owner can’t reasonably correct a defect, he should warn the renter of it.
Some property owners fail to fulfill their duties. An owner could be liable for the following:
- Not fixing a broken handrail or loose steps, which cause a renter to fall.
- Failing to install adequate lighting, leading to falls.
- Having inadequate security, such as no locks on the doors or windows, which allows someone to break into the vacation home.
- Failing to install safety gates and other security measures around pools, leading to drownings.
- Not warning you of a hazard that can’t be fixed.
- Failing to fix a hazard after being notified.
After an injury or accident, carefully document the cause. Take pictures of the defect or hazard, if possible.
An Owner Can Be Liable if a Visitor is Injured
As a renter, you might invite friends and family to visit or stay with you. They could also be injured at the vacation home.
The owner could be responsible in these types of accidents, depending on the hazard. For example, if your guest was injured by a hazard the owner could have fixed, then the owner is often on the hook.
However, the renter might have created the hazard. For example, you might have put down slippery rugs, which causes a guest to slip and fall. The owner of the vacation property is not responsible for this condition; the renter is. As a result, the renter might be legally liable for her guest’s injury.
Injured in a Vacation Rental? Call Us
Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum is a leading Miami law firm that has practiced premises liability law for decades. Our attorneys understand the intricacies of the law, and we are here to help you.
Call 305-371-2692 for more information.