General Liability Claims - Apartment Building Owners

Apartment Building Owners Claims
As the owner of an apartment building, you owe certain duties of care to your tenants and their guests. Most states require apartment building owners to observe a reasonable duty of care to maintain safe and habitable premises, warn of any known hazards, keep the premise free of all known defects and repair defects once they become known.

Most claims against apartment owners fall into one of two categories:
  1. Claims by tenants for breach of warranty of habitability
  2. Claims by tenants or guests for slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall injuries

Liability — that is, legal responsibility for injuries or property damage — depends on many factors, varying according to state-specific negligence laws and statutes. The burden of proof for establishing fault lies with the party presenting the claim.

The most common type of claim presented against apartment building owners is for damages presented by tenants for habitability issues. These damages may include bodily injuries, property damage, rent abatement, statutory damages (depending on the state) and attorney’s fees.

Liability for these claims is not automatic, and depends on certain conditions including:

  1. Did a maintenance issue exist on the property?
  2. If such a condition or defect existed, were you or your representative (property manager) aware of it — or should you have been aware of it — and failed to remedy it?
  3. Did this condition or defect cause the injury or property damage?
  4. Did any other party (landscaper/contractor/tenant owner) create the condition?
  5. Was the condition caused by an original construction defect?

When you’re informed of an injury or property damage occurring on your property, it’s crucial to act quickly to reduce or prevent further damage.

When property damage occurs to your building . . .
When a loss occurs at your building, the initial gathering of evidence is crucial. Obtain the names of any independent witnesses, and have the injured party fill out an incident report stating what happened, what injuries or damages were sustained and how to get in contact with him or her. If possible, have the individual sign the incident report.

To preserve crucial evidence, we urge you to photograph the precise location of the fall, injury or property damage. Keep a small disposable camera or digital camera on hand, and instruct property managers to take photographs immediately after any type of injury or damage occurs. In the case of a slip-and-fall injury, they should take pictures of the area where the claimant fell, even if it appears that nothing is there.

If tenants or others inform you of a faulty condition inside of a unit, act quickly to determine the damage’s cause and extent, and take steps promptly to reduce or prevent further damage.

Once you’ve submitted a claim to HelpPoint Claim Services, we’ll conduct an investigation and determine whether to accept, deny or compromise on the claim. Let us handle the investigation and resolve this matter for you. That’s what we’re here for!