A Maryland Landlord’s Duty to Protect Tenants

A Maryland landlord cannot ensure the safety of its residents, but it does have a duty to take reasonable security measures. In a recent case before a state appellate court, the court considered the extent of a condominium’s responsibility to protect its residents.

The Facts

According to the court’s opinion, the plaintiff was a new resident at a condo in downtown Atlanta. The declarations for the condominium stated that it was not responsible for providing security to residents. However, the plaintiff claimed the association provided what he considered to be security measures, such as security gates, and that these features contributed to him deciding to purchase the property.

Evidently, a security gate outside the property required a key fob for access, which he was told would be provided by the defendant property management company. More than two weeks after closing on the property, he was given a fob, but he could not get the fob to open the vehicle-access gate. The plaintiff contacted the company on multiple occasions. As he was attempting to resolve the issue with the key fob, about a month after he moved in, he was the victim of a violent attack on the sidewalk outside of his condominium complex. He had arrived home around 2:00 a.m. with his girlfriend, and after not being able to enter through the gate, and decided to park on the street. He got out of his car, and was stabbed three times in an attempted robbery.

The plaintiff argued that the property management company owed a duty to provide security to him as a resident. Yet, the court explained that he failed to cite any authority to support his argument. The condo’s contract stated that each resident would be bound by the declaration, which stated that each resident is responsible for their own security.

Landlord’s Duty to Protect Residents

Under Maryland law, a landlord generally has a duty to take reasonable security measures to prevent foreseeable criminal activity. This means that a landlord has a duty to exercise reasonable and ordinary care to keep the premises safe from the criminal activity of a third party. However, a landlord is not an insurer of its tenants’ safety. Further, if a landlord takes a reasonable measure to help provide security, it then has an obligation to continue to provide that measure by properly carrying it out. An example from one case is that if a landlord decided to provide exterior lighting as a security measure, it must adequately maintain the lighting in order to continue to provide the security measure.

Contact a Maryland Accident Attorney

If you have been injured on someone else’s property, contact the accident attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC. Our dedicated Maryland premises liability attorneys represent injury victims across Maryland, D.C., and Virginia. We have decades of experience handling Maryland personal injury cases, and possess the dedication and skill you need and expect from a personal injury law firm. To learn more about how we may be able to help you pursue a claim for compensation for your injuries, call 410-654-3600 to schedule a free consultation today.

More Blog Posts:

Court Issues Important Decision for Maryland Accident Victims with Claims Against the Federal Government, Maryland Accident Law Blog, March 1, 2019.

Contributory Negligence in Maryland Premises Liability Cases, Maryland Accident Law Blog, February 18, 2019.

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