Landlord Liability for Hazards On Neighboring Property
GENERALLY, PEOPLE HAVE NO DUTY FOR PROPERTY THEY DO NOT OWN OR CONTROL
California law does not generally hold landlords, or tenants in possession, liable for injuries occurring on property unless the defendant (landlord or tenant) had the legal right to possession, management, or control. However, where the injury results from a dangerous condition that originated on the landlord’s premises (rather than the one where the actual injury occurred), the law may hold the landlord–or the possessory tenant–liable for the off-site injury.
Conceptually, the analysis centers on the cause of the injury. Where conditions on one property create a hazardous condition on another property, liability may follow the cause. This doesn’t necessarily take the owner of the land where the injury occurred off the hook, however; the plaintiff may be able to sue both landowners–assuming the facts of the case demonstrate that neither defendant complied with the duty to mitigate foreseeable harms. If both landowners have a duty, and breached it, then both landowners may be liable–with the caveat that the plaintiff generally won’t be allowed a “double recovery.”
THE DUTY TO WARN OF KNOWN HAZARDS
If conditions on an adjacent property creates a hazard on the landlord’s own property, the landlord may have a duty to warn people entering onto the premises (generally through signs). The landlord may not be able to mitigate the danger, due to the inability to force change on another person’s property, but the lack of ability to mitigate will not necessarily eliminate the duty (if one exists) to post proper warning signs.
If you believe that conditions on a neighboring property may create a hazard for people entering or using the property you own or control, consult an attorney immediately. It’s important to know your legal rights–and obligations.
DISCLAIMER: This article is intended for informational purposes only, does not constitute legal advice to any person or entity, and does not create an attorney-client relationship with any person or entity. Landlord-tenant law, including premises liability, is a complex legal topic, and no single article can provide complete or comprehensive coverage or information about this or any other legal topic or issue. Your personal liability may differ, based on your individual facts and circumstances. If you believe you have a legal claim or issue, or wish to know more about your individual rights, consult an experienced attorney without delay.