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Negligent Security: Don’t Let Your Landlord Off the Hook

By Grant Law Office on July 28, 2020

Negligent security on a property falls under the legal concept of premises liability. In Georgia, property owners, landlords, and business owners have a duty to keep their premises safe for others—people invited onto the premises, such as customers, patrons, and tenants. When they fail to do so, they may be held liable for resulting injuries in a premises liability claim for compensation.

The duty to maintain safe premises extends to protecting invitees from injury caused by criminal acts committed by third parties on the property. A tenant who is injured in a criminal assault on a property may have a negligent security claim against the landlord.

Holding Landlords Responsible for Negligent Security

If you are assaulted and injured on your landlord’s property, it is the criminal who assaulted you who caused your injuries, not your landlord. So why is your landlord potentially liable?

A landlord’s liability in this situation stems from the duty of property owners to provide a safe environment for tenants, visitors, and guests. That duty includes maintaining the correct level of security in locations with known dangers of criminal activity. If your landlord knew, or should have reasonably known, about the risk of a criminal attack on the property and failed to take reasonable steps to prevent it, the landlord may be held legally for resulting harm.

If criminal activity could be expected on the property, your landlord has a duty to exercise ordinary care to guard against injury to you and other tenants and guests on the premises that might be caused by perpetrators of crime. Negligent security may include:

  • Inadequate lighting
  • Lack of cameras and security equipment
  • Failure to hire adequate security guards and personnel
  • Improper training of security guards and personnel
  • Failure to install or maintain locks, controlled access gates, or perimeter fencing

How To Prove Negligent Security

A landlord, business owner, or property owner is not automatically liable for any injury caused by third-party criminal activity on a property. To have a valid negligent security claim against your landlord, you must show that:

  • Your landlord had a legal duty to conform to a standard of conduct;
  • That duty was breached;
  • The breach caused your injuries; and
  • Your injuries resulted in damages.

Additionally, you must be able to prove that the criminal act against you was foreseeable by your landlord. You can establish these facts by showing that:

  • Previous substantially similar crimes occurred on or near the property.
  • A volatile situation existing on the property should have made a subsequent assault foreseeable (for example, if the landlord received a report that suspicious-looking persons appeared to be casing the property).
  • The property is located in a high-crime area, in which case the owner has a duty to take added security precautions.

Negligent security claims can be challenging to prove. If you were the victim of an assault on a property, to win compensation from your landlord, you would need to show that the criminal act was foreseeable by your landlord, in addition to demonstrating the essential elements of your claim. Our Atlanta personal injury attorneys at Grant Law Office can tell you if you have a case and what damages you may be entitled to claim. Call us at (404) 995-3955 to schedule a free consultation with no time limit or obligation.

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Posted in: Premises Liability

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