Landlord Negligence and Wrongful Death: A Legal Guide


As a landlord, your responsibility is to create a habitable, safe living space for your tenants. It’s part of a tenant’s basic rights that you remove all known hazards and avoid negligent mistakes that could cause serious injury.

While no landlord is perfect, one mistake could be fatal. At this point, you could face a wrongful death lawsuit. If they can prove that the death was a result of your negligence or even intentional actions, serious legal penalties and even jail time could be in your future.

It’s important to understand your role in preventing wrongful death on your property. Use this guide to begin your research.

What is wrongful death? 

Wrongful death can be claimed on behalf of a deceased family member or defendent if the death was caused by someone else. In some accidents, death on your property can be instantaneous. In others, a tenant could sustain injuries on your property that eventually lead to death.

Sometimes, the death may be based on intentional actions, such as in the case of assault and battery. However, according to Preszler Law Nova Scotia, wrongful death suits are more commonly brought up for negligence. With evidence and a good attorney, defendants can make a strong case against a property owner.

What is landlord negligence?

As a landlord, negligence should be a chief concern. You never know when failing to do your due diligence could lead to someone getting seriously hurt on your property.

Landlord negligence is any action that fails to meet the tenants’ innate right to a reasonable standard of living. It’s ignoring potentially dangerous hazards or failing to make timely repairs that could result in fatal injuries.

Some common liabilities include:

  • Loose handrails
  • Uneven sidewalks
  • Unmarked rises
  • Swimming pools and play structures
  • Elevators
  • Icy or snowy sidewalks

Carefully consider all potential risks or hazards on your property. Your oversight will not be seen as a good excuse when a defendant takes you to court.

What happens when a tenant sues for wrongful death?

If you’re facing a wrongful death suit, seek legal help right away. Hire an attorney with experience in this area. They will help you gather and present evidence in a court of law.

If the evidence against you is weak, your attorney can prove your innocence and prevent harsh legal and financial repercussions. If the evidence is strong, a good attorney might not be able to free you of all claims, but they can significantly reduce the consequences. Their help can be invaluable in maintaining your landlord business despite this accident.

How can I avoid a wrongful death suit?

Now that you understand a little more about what wrongful death and landlord negligence are, hopefully, you’ll be able to avoid a wrongful death suit in the future. If not, here are some things that might help:

Screen tenants carefully: Many wrongful death suits could be avoided if tenants made better decisions. For example, if your tenant likes to drink and party, the risks of someone getting hurt are considerably higher. You can run a tenant screening report free of charge to help avoid filling your units with risky tenants.

Hire someone to do maintenance: Wrongful death suits are more likely to occur with landlords who try to do everything themselves. You have good intentions of keeping the yard well-landscaped and removing hazards, but life gets in the way and you might forget or delay. Hiring someone to handle maintenance and repairs, such as a property management company, will ensure that your property stays in great shape at all times.

Know the law: If you know what’s expected of you, you’re less likely to make a misstep. There’s a lot that goes into creating a safe, habitable property, so if you’re not up for the challenge, it’s best to avoid the business altogether.

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