As a renter, you expect your landlord to take your safety and security seriously. After all, it is part of what you pay for as a renter. You trust your landlord to take reasonable measures to protect you and other tenants from criminal acts, like assaults, robberies, burglaries, etc. However, if your landlord fails and you become a victim on the property, can you sue your landlord for negligent security?
The negligent security claim against the landlord or business owner arises when they fail to take reasonable steps to prevent foreseeable harm to their visitors, customers or tenants from third-party criminal acts. This applies to both businesses and residential properties (apartments, condos, hotels, etc.) owners as landlords have a duty to provide a safe and habitable living environment.
Taking reasonable precautions
In essence, the landlord needs to take reasonable precautions to deter or prevent criminal activity on the premises they own based on the crime they know to occur. For example, if there are break-ins, fix broken windows, add additional locks. If there are assaults, add additional lighting, hire additional security, ask for police patrols, etc.
How does it apply to landlords?
A landlord who knows that there have been several assaults in their apartment complex or around the apartment complex owes a duty to their tenants to do something. The landlord could install additional lighting, security cameras, locks, alarms, ask the police for additional patrols or hire security. If they chose not to, and a resident or one of the resident’s guests are subsequently assaulted in the parking lot, the landlord could be held liable for negligent security.
How to prove the landlord committed negligent security
There are four basic elements to a negligent security case. First, you need to show that you were lawfully on the property. Second, you must prove that the landlord had the duty to provide security on the property. Third, you must prove that the landlord breached that duty by not providing reasonable security measures. Finally, you must prove that you suffered damages as a result of that failure, like you suffered injuries from a criminal act that was foreseeable.