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Landlord liability insurance ensures that in the event there is a lawsuit brought against the holder of the policy for negligence on the upkeep of his or her property, then the insurance company will handle all the costs of the litigation. Though landlord liability insurance does not cover every possible lawsuit brought against a landlord, it does cover legitimate actions for negligence on the landlord’s part. These cases typically involve personal injury of the tenant and can be particularly expensive due to the various kinds of damages that may be awarded. Landlord liability insurance usually covers these costs as well as legal fees.
In order for a landlord to be liable for the injuries of a tenant, he or she will have to have been negligent in the maintenance of the property. In determining negligence on the landlord’s part, the tenant must show several things. First, he or she will have to show the landlord was responsible for the faulty condition of the cause of the injury, most often because he or she failed to repair something that should have been repaired. The tenant will also have to show that the landlord should have known about the dangerous condition and it was reasonably foreseeable that its existence was likely to lead to injury. Additionally, it must be shown that if not for the allegedly negligent action or inaction by the landlord, the tenant would not have been hurt.
For example, if a tenant is walking down the porch stairs, the railing breaks, and the tenant is injured, the landlord may be liable for the tenant’s injuries. In order for the landlord to be held liable, the old and rotten railing must have been something that the landlord was responsible for fixing — and absent any contradiction in the lease, this is typically the type of maintenance for which the landlord is responsible. It must also have been noticeable, either through normal inspection or actual knowledge, that the railing was damaged and that there was a reasonable chance its condition would lead to injury. Last, the question needs to be asked if the tenant would have been injured if the railing were fixed.
In the event that the answer to all these questions is “yes” then the landlord will typically be held liable for the tenant’s injury due to negligence. Generally landlord liability insurance will cover not only the tenant’s medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, as well as any other damages awarded in this scenario, but it will also cover that of any of the tenant’s guests during the lease. Additionally, a landlord liability insurance policy will typically cover the property of any party as long as the damage flowed from the landlord’s negligence.