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Landlords, tenants and apartment building hazards

Apartment building accidents are a common source of injury for many people. Dangerous conditions often exist in these structures, leading to slip-and-falls, concussions and other types of accidents that can affect the overall safety of tenants. At Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein, LLP, one of the questions we know you have, is whether you are entitled to sue a property owner because of injuries you sustained in the building or on the grounds.

In Florida, code violations, insufficient lighting, slippery floors, and broken and deteriorating sidewalks are just a few of the issues that your landlord is responsible for preventing. However, even if the property owner is not aware of the dangerous condition, the law still allows you to sue the owner for failing to provide and maintain a safe dwelling. It is important that your landlord perform regular building inspections, maintenance checks, timely repairs, and improved safety and security response measures to keep you and others safe.

Burden of Proof

The burden of proof falls to you, as the victim, states Landlordology. This means you have to be able to prove that your landlord was negligent. For example, if you were to contact the owner of your building or notify a building attendant of a hazardous situation, such as broken stairs or missing lights, and your landlord ignored all attempts at communication, he or she could be found responsible for any injuries that occur as a result of those deficiencies.

The property owner may also be found liable for any accidents and injuries that occur if he or she acknowledged the issue, but failed to do anything about it in a timely manner. This would include posting safety signs and taking reasonable measures to inform you and the other building tenants and guests of the problem. For more information on dangerous apartment building conditions, please visit our website.

Apartment Fires

According to the National Fire Protection Association, every 63 seconds one building fire is reported. In 2015, the number of structure fires increased by 1.5 percent from 2014. There was a total of 501,500 fires for the year. Residential fires claimed 78 percent of its victims, making home fires the most lethal type fire situation.

There are many factors that cause residential fires. Improper use of cooking equipment, appliances, candles and malfunctioning heaters are a few. Electrical fires not as common because of improved standards in building codes regulations. However, when tenants and property owners fail to regularly inspect and use extension and electrical cords and outlets properly, fire is a likely outcome.

Half of all apartment fires are caused by cooking, states P3 Insurance Services. Many tenants are not informed on how to properly put out stovetop fires. For example, when grease fires occur, they may resort to using water as an extinguisher which can cause the flames to spread, making the problem worse. Property owners should invest in proper fire prevention equipment, such as stovetop fire suppressors to reduce cooking fires.

Tenants and landlords can prevent most occurrences of apartment fires by working together. Property owners should routinely inspect their buildings for deficiencies, improve them and install fire prevention and detection equipment like smoke detectors, fire extinguishers and stovetop suppressors. Tenants can become more responsible in the way they use their heating appliances, candles and cook their foods. These combined efforts can improve tenant safety and keep fires from occurring.