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Landlord Duty to Keep Premises Free of Crime

You expect to feel safe and secure in your home, even when you are renting. Too often we hear news reports of apartment dwellers using their homes for their nefarious purposes, such as drug sales or manufacturing. Tenants who commit crimes in or around their rental units are a danger to other tenants. Illegal activities attract other criminals and an unsavory element that may threaten the lives of residents.

A landlord has a legal duty to protect tenants from the criminal acts of other tenants, employees, or strangers. Liability may depend on whether the landlord knew of the criminal activity or should have had known and failed to protect the tenants. To avoid liability, the landlord should:

  • Install strong locks, cameras, good lighting, intercom systems, and security alarms where feasible to ensure all safety and security code requirements are met
  • Regularly inspect the property for unlocked doors, nonfunctioning alarms, and broken windows and lights and immediately make repairs
  • Watch for suspicious persons or activities and report observations to the police
  • Post notices in common areas informing tenants of dangers and listing emergency contact information
  • Encourage tenants to notify the landlord of suspicious persons or activities and follow up on all reports

Tenants Committing Crimes

A tenant who commits a crime or conducts a criminal enterprise in or around the rented premises presents a danger to other tenants and possible civil and criminal liability for the landlord.

A landlord may be liable for:

  • Criminal acts of a tenant if the landlord knowingly or negligently rents to a tenant who, for example, deals drugs or manufactures drugs on the premises
  • Threat posed to other tenants and neighbors when the tenant’s crimes attract criminals or a menacing element to the building and neighborhood
  • Crimes a tenant commits against other tenants. The landlord could be liable if a tenant commits a crime directly against another tenant, such as breaking into another tenant’s apartment, robbing another tenant, or assaulting another tenant. In some states, when a tenant commits the crime of domestic violence against a co-tenant the landlord can terminate the rental agreement as to the abusive tenant.

A landlord must quickly act to remove the lawbreaking tenant from the premises. A landlord should report all criminal activity to the police and participate with the investigation. Also, the landlord should notify the other tenants of the dangers present.

If a landlord fails to remove the criminal threat and protect the tenants, the tenants could be entitled to:

  • Revoke their rental agreements and move out
  • Reimbursement of the costs of having to move

Also, the landlord could face criminal charges for allowing criminal activity on the premises.

Contact a Premises Liability Lawyer in Las Vegas Today 

You do not have to stay in and continue to pay rent for a place that is dangerous. As a tenant in Nevada, you have the right to live on property free of hazards to your health and safety. If you have been harmed in an accident due to hazardous conditions on property where you rent, the attorneys at the Matt Pfau Law Group can advise you on your legal options and deal with the insurance companies on your behalf. Contact us today to discuss your legal case.

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