Florida law requires that apartment complex owners provide a safe environment for their tenants. This duty has many dimensions, but one obvious one is that landlords must take reasonable precautions to prevent their tenants from being injured by criminal activity.
At Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein, LLP we stand up to powerful landlords and property management companies when their security is lax. We can help injured victims receive compensation for all of their losses following a violent attack so that they can be made whole.
Is Security Lax?
A big question we receive is whether an apartment complex has adequate security to begin with. There are few bright line rules in this area of law. For example, the amount of security should depend on many factors, like a history of crime in the complex and surrounding areas.
However, there are some clear examples of lax security:
- Missing locks on doors and windows
- Broken doors and windows that provide easy access to units
- Inadequate lighting in common areas, including walkways
These are basic safety features that every apartment complex should have. Their absence is a definite sign of negligence.
But the desirability of other security measures depends on the context. Consider security guards. They might be necessary if the apartment complex is in a dangerous neighborhood or if there is a history of crime in the complex. But there might be other buildings that do not need them.
Documenting the Lack of Security
A property management company can quickly fix some defects, like missing locks, so it is ideal to fully document the hazards that you believe compromise your security. Take pictures or video of broken windows, doors that won’t close or lock, or missing locks.
Also fully document your communications with your landlord. For example, save copies of emails or letters. If you have a conversation, take detailed notes about what was said and when the conversation occurred. This evidence shows your landlord was put on notice that conditions were dangerous.
Report the Crime
Tenants can bring lawsuits against an apartment complex when they suffer robbery, assault, battery, sexual assault, or other violence on the apartment complex grounds. Make sure to call the police if you were attacked and talk with the officer about how the suspect gained access to the property or your unit specifically. This will document a connection between the missing security and your attack.