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Can a Tenant Sue a Landlord for Falling Down the Stairs?

Property owners and landlords in California are required to maintain their property in a safe condition. Should they fail to uphold this duty, they could create dangerous conditions such as worn stairs on the property. This could expose tenants to the risk of accidents. The injured tenant may then be eligible to seek damages from the landlord.

Can a tenant sue a landlord for falling down the stairs? The answer generally depends on several factors, such as the duty of care owed to the tenant. In this article, we review premises liability in California as it relates to tenants and landlords. 

If you have been injured in a tenant slip and fall accident, a Personal Injury Attorney Los Angeles can inform you of your rights and legal options.

Premises Liability in California

Premises liability laws in California define when a landlord can be held liable for a tenant’s injuries. Generally, the potential liability of a landlord differs across two distinct time periods. These are:

  •       Before Passing Possession

A landlord is expected to ensure the premises are safe before giving possession to a tenant or upon lease renewal. They are required to conduct an inspection and fix any discovered unsafe conditions. If they fail to fix a condition, including one they should have discovered, they can be held liable for tenant injuries resulting from the condition.

  •       After Passing Possession

Once the landlord gives a tenant possession of premises, they lose the right to enter the premises without permission. They wouldn’t be aware of all the dangerous conditions that arise after the tenant moves in. They cannot be held liable for accidents arising from such conditions.

Exceptions to the Rule

California premises liability law holds that a landlord is not liable for any injuries caused by conditions that came into existence after they passed possession to a tenant. However, there are exceptions to this rule. A landlord can be held responsible if:

  • They had actual knowledge of the dangerous condition and a right to repair it
  • The accident occurred in a common area over which the landlord has complete control, such as stairs, hallways, ad elevators

Elements of a Premises Liability Claim

Proving a premises liability case in California is the responsibility of the victim. This is referred to as the burden of proof. Generally, you have to establish the following elements to sue your landlord for a slip and fall accident:

  • They owed you a duty of care as a tenant
  • They failed to uphold that duty by not maintaining the staircase in a safe condition
  • This failure or inaction was the direct cause of your injuries

Consult a Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney

Can a tenant sue a landlord for falling down the stairs? Yes. If your accident was caused by a condition present before the landlord turned over possession of the premises to you, you could sue. You are also eligible for benefits if the dangerous condition falls under the landlord’s duties.

At El Dabe Ritter, we represent victims of premises liability accidents. If you have been injured due to your landlord’s negligence, a knowledgeable Personal Injury Attorney in Los Angeles can help you seek damages. Contact us today to discuss your case.