Is It Negligent Security If the Landlord Won't Fix Your Lock? 

Posted by Randy Andrus | Sep 06, 2022

If your landlord refuses to repair broken locks, gates, or other unsafe situations around the property, he or she may be acting negligently. From broken locks that make you feel unsafe in your home to unsecured common areas that create dangerous environments for your family, negligent landlords can be a serious issue for renters. What are you, as a renter, supposed to do? You've called, emailed, and talked to multiple people, yet your landlord still hasn't made your major repair. It can feel like a hopeless situation. However, negligent property owners must address inadequate security issues by law. In this article, we'll discuss property owner liability and what renters can do to take action against negligent landlords. 

If you've been injured due to negligent security at your apartment complex or rented home, call our negligent security lawyer in Utah today at 801-535-4645. You may, alternatively, fill out this convenient and secure online form, and we will reach out to you to set up an initial consultation. 

Is My Landlord Negligent?

Property owners have a duty to ensure the safety of their tenants. This means ensuring that they are protected against potential criminals and intruders. If you feel unsafe in your home, it may be due to a negligent landlord. Some signs of property owner negligence are:

  1. Broken windows
  2. Broken locks
  3. Broken gates, fences, and other barriers
  4. Inadequate security in shared spaces, such as an apartment clubhouse or pool area
  5. Poor lighting
  6. Unsafe hallways, entryways, and staircases

It is your landlord's responsibility to make necessary repairs and reasonably maintain the premises. If they are neglecting this duty, they could be proven liable for any injuries or damages that occur due to disrepair or poor maintenance.  

The First Steps in Dealing with Negligent Landlords 

Tenants should make every effort to let the landlord know about the issue. It's recommended that you communicate with your landlord in writing and follow up on any verbal communications in writing, too. Additionally, your lease may instruct you to notify landlords about an issue in a specific way; ensure that you make note of this and act accordingly. Regardless of how you let your landlord know about the issue, keep a written copy of the notification(s). When you've notified the landlord, schedule the needed repairs. 

If a landlord refuses to remedy the problem, you may consider responding with a Notice of Deficient Conditions. This notice is to be used only when the situation is dire, such as when the issue puts you or your family in unsafe or unsanitary conditions. Some examples of such dire situations include broken external doors or window locks, broken windows, electrical issues, heating problems, etc.  

Depending on your situation and state, you may have a few options when utilizing a Notice of Deficient Conditions, according to Utah law (Utah Code § 57-22-6):

  1. Rent Abatement
  2. Repair and Deduct

Upon filling out the Notice of Deficient Conditions, you'll identify what needs to be repaired and outline which of the above actions you will take if those repairs are not completed. Step-by-step instructions can be found on the Utah Legal Services website.

Proving a Negligent Security Claim

Hopefully, your landlord repairs the situation before it comes to the point of injury and damages. However, if not, they may be liable. This means they could be on the hook for the costs associated with your injury. To prove a negligent security claim, a few elements must exist:

  1. The defendant owned, leased, or occupied the premises on which the plaintiff was injured
  2. The defendant practiced negligence in the utilization or upkeep of the property
  3. The deceased must have sustained injuries that directly led to his or her death
  4. The defendant's negligence must have played a significant role in the injuries and subsequent death

As an example of a valid negligent security lawsuit, consider that Bob has completed all of the steps to notify his landlord that his apartment has a broken first-story window – one night, a limb hit the window, and it shattered. Weeks go by with no remedy from the landlord, and Bob comes home one night to find someone inside his apartment. He's physically assaulted, and the offenders take his TV and some other valuables. In this case, Bob has grounds for a negligent security lawsuit. 

Potential Damages in a Negligent Security Lawsuit

Civil lawsuits allow victims to recover legal compensation in an effort to make them “whole” again or to return them to a similar state to which they were in before the incident. The legal compensation potentially available in civil suits varies from case to case. Generally, damages that may be recoverable include items such as medical bills, property damage, loss of income, etc. 

In the hypothetical case of Bob, he may be entitled to damages covering his medical bills from the assault and the tangible losses of his TV and other valuables. Additionally, Bob may be entitled to non-economic losses, too. These may include compensation for any emotional trauma that Bob experiences from the incident, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, loss of enjoyment of life, or other psychological or emotional issues stemming from the assault and break-in.  [yes, let's keep this in, thanks!]

Consult a Negligent Security Lawyer Today

When a landlord refuses to repair vital issues such as broken locks, faulty security systems or cameras, broken windows, etc, security is a huge concern. If a tenant is injured due to negligence, a landlord could be held accountable, thus responsible for the tenant's losses. If you are in an unfortunate, horrible situation, call an experienced negligent security attorney who you can trust. Randy Andrus has protected injured clients for over 35 years, and he's ready to help you get the justice you deserve. To schedule a consultation, call us at 801-535-4645 or fill out our convenient and confidential online contact form here

Our online content is strictly for general information purposes only. This blog is not intended to serve as legal advice. If you have specific questions and concerns, we urge you to reach out to our attorney to discuss your case. 

Andrus Law Firm is located in Salt Lake City at 

299 S Main St

Ste 1395

Salt Lake City, UT 84111

We serve Salt Lake City, Layton, Ogden, Orem, Provo, Sandy, St George, West Valley City, West Jordan, and the entire state of Utah. 

About the Author

Randy Andrus

BIO   Education University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law (LL.M. 1987) Business and Taxation – Transnational Practice Courses and International Bar Association Convention, Salzburg, Austria Southwestern University School of Law (J.D. 1984) Dean's List American Jurisprudence...

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