Are Former Owners Liable Under Premises Liability Law?
FORMER OWNERS ARE NOT GENERALLY LIABLE FOR HARM OCCURRING AFTER TRANSFER OF OWNERSHIP OR CONTROL OF PROPERTY
Generally speaking, premises liability law creates potential liability for people who own, possess, or control land at the time when an injury or damage occurs. This is true even if the hazard existed when the owner purchased the property, and/or if the hazard was created by a former owner.
A previous owner’s liability under premises liability law generally ends when (s)he transfers ownership (or control) of the property to someone else. An exception to this rule is if the prior owner conceals hazardous conditions or property defects of which the buyer is not aware. In such cases, the prior owner may also be liable if harm results.
This doesn’t mean a previous owner of property can never have liability for property that has been transferred. Other branches of law may apply, and liability can arise from a variety of sources. However, as a general rule, a property owner’s duty to maintain and use his or her property in reasonably safe condition ends when the owner transfers title to that property to someone else. The duty then transfers to the new owner, who is responsible for repairing, maintaining, and properly using the property from that point forward.
Disclaimer: THIS ARTICLE IS FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY, AND DOES NOT CONSTITUTE LEGAL ADVICE OR CREATE AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE AUTHOR OR ROSS LAW AND ANY PERSON. Your rights and experiences may vary. Never use an online article (including this one) to evaluate your legal claims. Speak with an experienced lawyer promptly to obtain a personalized evaluation of your claims, possible damages, and options. You may lose or compromise your rights if you delay in consulting legal counsel. Most legal claims (and defenses) are complicated and fact-dependent. If you believe you have a claim against someone who injured you, a lawyer who represented you in a previous lawsuit, or any other type of legal claim, consult an experienced lawyer immediately for an evaluation of your personal rights and claims.