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Landlords Have a Duty to Inspect Rental Properties


In California, landlords have a legally-recognized duty to keep rental property “reasonably safe.” This duty is owed to tenants and to other people (“third parties”) who enter the land or rental units for various reasons.  This means a landlord may be held legally liable for injuries to tenants, their visitors, and others, regardless of whether the person is on the land as a resident or visitor, or on a business-related call.


Landlords have a legal duty to inspect rental premises and fix or mitigate hazardous conditions:

1.  When the landlord has possession and control over the premises, for example, after a tenant moves out and before a new tenant moves into the rental unit.

2. When a tenant has possession, if the landlord has: (a) actual knowledge of a hazardous condition and (b) the legal right and ability to mitigate or remedy the danger.  If the landlord has no actual knowledge of the dangerous condition, or lacks the legal right to solve the problem before injury occurs, the landlord is often not liable for resulting injuries. (However, in such cases, the tenant who caused the hazardous condition may be legally liable for the harm or damages.)

Notwithstanding the foregoing, landlords who lease commercial properties may be liable for injuries resulting from dangerous conditions on leased properties even if the lease assigns that liability to the tenant. Whether or not a commercial landlord is legally liable depends upon a number of factors, including (but not limited to) the terms of the lease, the nature of the hazard and the resulting injuries or damages, and the facts and circumstances of the individual case.

If you have been injured on rental property, consult an attorney promptly for an individual assessment and analysis of your case. Do not rely on this or any other article to determine your legal rights and claims.


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.

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