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When is a landlord liable for criminal acts on rental property?

The best way to begin addressing this question is by taking a look at the duty owed to rental property tenants by the landlord. In most areas of the U.S., landlords have a degree of responsibility to protect their tenants from harm. This includes things you might expect such as being injured by property defects. However, it also includes protection from violence on the property.

As such, property owners or landlords should take reasonable steps to maintain the security of a residential home. Examples of reasonable security measures include making sure the windows and doors have good locks and are secure against a home invasion. Failure to take even the most simple measures could be considered negligent security if a tenant becomes injured during a crime on the property.

For example, say the lock on your door has broken. You report this to your landlord but he or she fails to correct the problem. Then someone breaks into your home and assaults you. While your landlord is not responsible for the crime itself, he or she may be guilty of negligence by failing to repair the lock. Because your landlord knew about the broken lock, he or she has a duty to repair the lock.

You could file a legal action against the landlord based on negligent security. This will not punish the person who injured you, nor will it take your suffering away, but it could provide compensation to help you pay your medical bills and replace any income you lose due to your injuries.

If you are asking about liability because you or a loved one was injured during a crime in your Indiana home, it is wise to delve deeper into the topic of negligent security by speaking with a lawyer.

Source: FindLaw, “Is Landlord Liable for Criminal Activity?,” Dennis Katz, accessed March 15, 2017

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