Landlord Liability for Criminal Acts of Strangers and Non-Tenants

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Can a Landlord Be Held Responsible for the Criminal Acts of a Stranger?

It is possible for a landlord to be held financially responsible for the criminal acts of a complete stranger. This is especially true if there is a history of assault or other crimes on the landlord's property.  In fact, lawsuits against landlords and rental property owners for the acts of criminals are becoming more and more common.

How Can a Landlord Be Held Responsible for the Criminal Acts of Strangers?

Most states have laws that impose some duty on landlords to protect their tenants from the criminal acts of outsiders. Thus, landlords also usually have a duty to protect the neighborhood from the criminal acts of their tenants. These duties are usually contained in building codes, statutes, and ordinances.

What Can a Landlord Do to Limit Liability for Criminal Acts of Strangers?

There are several steps a landlord can take in order to reduce the likelihood that you will be found liable for the criminal acts of non-tenants. Best practice is to take steps that will reduce the likelihood that a crime is ever committed on the property. In addition, other steps include: 

Do I Need a Lawyer?

Because your duties as a landlord are often found in court decisions and other hard to find places, a real estate lawyer can advise you of what steps you should take to ensure the safety of your tenants.

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Last Modified: 09-19-2014 05:49 PM PDT

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