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Landlords can be Liable for Injuries Caused by Defects on Their Property

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Peter J. Gregory
Feb 27, 2021
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Residential tenants are sometimes injured by defects in the apartment or house that they rent from a landlord. Sometimes these injuries are significant, resulting in medical bills, lost time from work, plus physical and emotional pain and suffering. In New York, an injured tenant should consider a personal injury claim against a responsible landlord (and their insurance company) for compensation for these injuries.  An experienced personal injury attorney can help evaluate if there is a claim against the landlord, as there are usually many issues to review in these types of accidents.

State and local law typically requires that landlords keep their properties in good repair and maintain them in a reasonably safe condition. When a landlord creates a dangerous condition that leads to the injury of a tenant or guests, then the landlord can be held responsible for those injuries.  For example, if a landlord improperly installs gutters that results in slippery black ice on a sidewalk, then the landlord may be liable for resulting slip and falls.

Sometimes a dangerous condition can exist that was not created by the landlord. But, if the landlord knew or should have known of the dangerous condition on the property, then he or she may be liable for ensuing injuries. The burden will be on the injured person to prove when the landlord knew or should have known, so evidence such as letters, emails or text messages informing the landlord of concerns with the property can be key in these situations.  Even without written or electronic notice, a landlord may still be liable where the defect is visible and where it has existed for a sufficient period of time that a landlord should have discovered it and remedied the situation.

Typically, when a tenant is injured on rental property, the landlord and their insurance company will attempt to blame the injured person for the accident. If a tenant knew of the dangerous condition and chose to proceed, then that person may have “assumed the risk” and will be personally responsible for some or all of the injuries.  New York premises liability law uses a comparative negligence rule to split the damages between the tenant and the landlord. A judge or jury could determine a percentage of relative fault for the accident and apportion the financial compensation in accordance with that determination.

If you or a loved one was injured by a dangerous condition at a rental property, it is important to conduct a prompt investigation of the accident to review issues of liability, gather evidence and review damages.  Please contact us to learn more.

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About the author:  Peter J. Gregory is a partner with the firm.  He is a trial lawyer with extensive experience resolving disputes in state and federal trial courts. His personal injury practice focuses on advising clients who have been injured or lost loved ones in accidents caused by the carelessness or recklessness of others. Please feel free to contact him directly at or (585) 512-3506.


This publication is intended as an information source for clients, prospective clients, and colleagues and constitutes attorney advertising. The content should not be considered legal advice and readers should not act upon information in this publication without individualized professional counsel.

About MCCM

McConville Considine Cooman & Morin, P.C. is a full-service law firm based in Rochester, New York, providing high-quality legal services to businesses and individuals since 1979.  With over a dozen attorneys and a full paralegal support staff, the firm is well-positioned to right-size services tailored to each client. We are large enough to provide expertise in a broad range of practice areas, yet small enough to devote prompt, personal attention to our clients.

We represent a diverse range of clients located throughout New York State and New England.  They include individuals, numerous manufacturing and service industry businesses, local governments, and health care professionals, provider groups, facilities and associations. We also serve as local counsel to out-of-state clients and their attorneys who have litigation pending in Western New York courts.  For more information, please contact us at 585.546.2500.