A tenant sued a landlord for $1 million because she was raped by a man who broke into her apartment. She contended the landlord should have warned her the neighborhood was high-crime.
He was threatened with a second lawsuit because a prospective tenant was raped by a man who wandered in off the street while she was looking at an apartment. He also faced four more lawsuits from tenants victimized by other crimes.
“This really scares me,” said the landlord, facing at least six lawsuits.
Plaza Realty Co. and Douglas Realty Corp of New York lost a $44.5 million liability suit brought by a woman who was shot and paralyzed by her jilted boyfriend in the lobby of Plaza’s and Douglas’s apartment building.
Another tenant sued her landlord because she was assaulted by another tenant’s monkey. First time around, the landlord won, but on appeal lost the case. Eventually the two parties settled out of court. The tenant said she complained about “screeching, screaming, cheeping, howling, squealing, and cooing” sounds emanating from her neighboring apartment. She was attacked during a visit to the apartment where she saw “hundreds” of birds, as well as squirrels and a monkey. Pets weren’t allowed in the apartments.
It’s enough to make any landlord stop and think, do I want to be in this business? Can I ever be immune to all the lawsuits in this increasingly litigious society? If a landlord knew, should have known, or could have known, he or she can be liable for injuries and damages and can never be immune.
Landlords are responsible the same way as employers in workman’s compensation cases . It doesn’t matter who is at fault; the landlord pays. This holds true even if the landlord wins a court case. He or she has to pay the lawyer and go through the stress of the court proceedings.
By Robert L. Cain
Disparate Impact Update
In January and February over 800 Landlords and Property Managers attended classes from Bellingham to Lacey, WA. Rebekah Near shared vital information on complying with HUD’s “new” ruling for use of criminal records.