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Fires and Landlord Negligence

Posted on 12/26/23 by admin in Personal Injury

Winter weather brings dry air and increased use of heating systems in homes all across the world. This allows many of us to enjoy cozy nights by the fire and provides temperate conditions to shelter us from the elements outside. But this season also creates ideal conditions for a house fire. You may be aware that negligence on the part of your landlord or property manager may allow you to seek compensation in the event of a fire. But did you know that a fire in a rental property could possibly leave you on the hook for damages? Today we’ll be exploring fires and landlord negligence.

fires and landlord negligence

Defining Negligence in Brief

In legal terms, someone is deemed “negligent” when they fail to reach the minimum of their legal duties. This occurs in all walks of life. A doctor is negligent if he or she shows up intoxicated for sensitive surgery. A driver is negligent if they make an illegal left turn from the right turning lane and causes a crash. In the context of an apartment fire, negligence can be thought of as a synonym for “responsibility.” In the aftermath of an apartment fire, the negligent party is the one deemed responsible for the fire. This may mean some action, or some failure to take action, that led to the fire.

Fires and Landlord Negligence: Two Sides of the Coin

Landlord Negligence

If you rent your home, you may be content to leave fire-prevention maintenance to your landlord or property management company. This makes a certain kind of sense, it’s their property and they’re likely accustomed to maintaining it or hiring professionals to do so. But tenants should be on the lookout for all forms of landlord negligence. In fact, in the event of a damaging or injurious fire, negligence on the part of your landlord or property management company may open the path to recovery of significant compensation.

Common types of landlord negligence which may lead to damaging or injurious fires include:

  • Overcrowding
  • Faulty wiring or electrical fixtures
  • Failure to abide by building codes
  • Faulty or nonexistent smoke or carbon monoxide detectors
  • Lack of fire extinguishers
  • Faulty or nonexistent fire alarms
  • Blocked or poorly-maintained fire escapes and exits

fires and landlord negligence

Tenant Negligence

Tenants should also be aware that negligence cuts both ways. If a tenant is deemed responsible for their fire, they may be held responsible for any damages which occur. Malloy Law recommends that tenants avail themselves of as much renter’s insurance as they can afford. This will mitigate the financial damages of any unforeseen incidents.

Common types of tenant negligence which may lead to damaging or injurious fires include:

  • Failure to turn off the oven, stove, or other heated cooking appliance (toaster ovens, slow cookers, etc.)
  • Leaving heat-generating appliances unattended (hair curlers, dryers, straighteners, etc.)
  • Leaving headed blankets or personal heaters on and unattended.
  • Leaving candles or other flaming or smoldering material unattended.

landlord negligence

Proving Landlord Negligence

If you suspect your landlord is behaving negligently, your first priority should be to start a paper trail. When attempting to prove negligence, hard copies of communications between yourself and the party suspected of negligence will be invaluable. Be respectful and civil, but persistent. Communicate your concerns clearly and document the responses (or failures to respond) from the landlord or property manager. If and when you choose to pursue legal action against the negligent party, you should be sure to present these communications to your attorney.

Tenants’ Rights in the Wake of a Fire

If your apartment or house is rendered uninhabitable by fire, your obvious first priority should be finding new accommodations. You may be able to break your lease without consequence. To get a fuller picture of your rights and responsibilities, it may be wise to consult with an attorney.

fires and landlord negligence

Contact Malloy Law Today

If you or a loved one has suffered injury or loss of property from a house fire caused by your landlord’s negligence, contact Malloy Law today for a free consultation. Our experienced team will evaluate your unique circumstances and form a plan of action to recover maximum compensation for your injury, loss of property, pain and suffering, and emotional trauma. Don’t wait, contact Malloy Law today to get started.