Most of us have heard about slip-and-fall accidents or accidents that occur because a property owner didn’t maintain safe conditions. Things like a spill that didn’t get cleaned up or exposed wiring or the presence of chemicals on the property that cause an accident or injury are the responsibility of the property owner. But what if something happens to you in a home that you are renting? Is the property owner liable?
These kinds of situations fall under a category of law known as Premises Liability Law.
What are Premises Liability Laws and how does it apply to me if I’m a tenant?
In short, premises liability laws are used to enforce a property owner’s responsibility to provide a safe, maintained property for visitors and tenants. This includes providing adequate warning of unsafe conditions, providing adequate security for the property, and taking care of maintenance issues promptly.
Negligent security is easier to see with a commercial property, but in a residential property it is often harder to recognize it. Most cases of maintenance issues are clear-cut, but what happens if you are injured by someone during an attempted break-in? What if your personal possessions were damaged or stolen from the home you are renting in the process? What if you must miss work for an extended period of time due to your injuries? Is the owner liable for any injuries or costs associated with the criminal activity?
Inadequate or Negligent Security Claims protect tenants
The owner of a property has a legal duty to provide adequate protection for tenants from criminal activity. What the law considers to be adequate protection depends on several factors. The location of the property, the crime rate in the area, what kind of crimes usually take place in the area, and the value of the property are all things that should be considered when a property owner makes plans for security.
If the landlord did not provide sufficient security or adequate protections to prevent a crime, they may be liable for any injuries and losses caused by their negligence. To prove that a landlord or owner has been negligent, there must be evidence of an actual injury and/or significant material losses (either through property or ability to work.) There must also be proof that the crime could have been prevented if the owner had taken reasonable security measures, such as installing an alarm system or building a fence.
How does this affect me in Albuquerque?
While the crime rates have dropped in New Mexico over the last two years, there is still a much higher than average number of crimes in New Mexico compared to the rest of the United States. The City of Albuquerque’s police department reported over 46,000 property crimes in 2021 and 15,765 crimes against a person (such as assault and rape.) Based on New Mexico premise liability laws, it is the owner’s responsibility to know the security needs of their property and take care of them.
If you suffered an injury or loss from a home invasion, burglary, or other preventable crime, it is possible that the landlord or owner was negligent in providing for your security. A Negligent Security Lawyer will examine all the relevant details to the case. A knowledgeable attorney can provide more information and legal advice, based on the specifics of your situation.