Out-of-possession Landlord

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Q: Through an exterior door, I entered the facility.  On an interior staircase, I slipped and fell on water, maybe because rainwater had entered through the doorway and collected on the stairs.  My friend says that because the property is leased from a landlord who is ‘out-of-possession’, I can sue only the facility.

A: Often, a building owner will argue that, as an out-of-possession landlord, he or she was not responsible for the conditions that caused an accident.  One looks at the lease.  In language that is not always entirely clear, the lease may obligate the landlord to maintain the public portions of the building, interior and exterior, and require the tenant to make nonstructural repairs.  In the lease, perhaps the owner reserves the right to re-enter the premises for purposes of inspecting them and making repairs.

Your lawyer may well be able to establish that the lease requires the landlord to maintain and repair the structural elements, such as the exterior door, doorway, and stairwell – and moreover that the landlord either created the defective conditions, or had actual or constructive notice of them.  The owner may well fail to demonstrate that it was an out-of-possession landlord without any duty to maintain the subject exterior door, doorway, and stairwell.

By: Scott Baron,
Attorney at Law Advertorial

The law responds to changed conditions; exceptions and variations abound. Here, the information is general; always seek out competent counsel. This article shall not be construed as legal advice.

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