Both tenants and landlords have certain responsibilities when it comes to the legalities of a rental agreement, as well as in terms of liability for personal injuries. Tenants are legally entitled to a safe and livable home.
Conversely, landlords are legally responsible for:
- addressing safety concerns on the premises;
- taking care of all major repairs; and
- warning the tenants of any known dangers present.
Negligent security may be a point of issue in a property liability claim as well. Should the landlord fail to uphold his or her duty and a tenant is injured as a result, renters have a right to take legal action against the landlord to recover damages.
Below are five important ways tenants can protect themselves from liability should an injury occur on the rental property.
Take Photos and Check Agreement Upon Arrival
Before signing the agreement or move in, carefully inspect the property for hazards and defects. It’s important to notify the landlord of any dangerous conditions to protect oneself, legally speaking.
Take photos and store them for safekeeping, any:
- hazards; or
- broken items.
Also make a list of all the damages and disrepair, and provide a copy of the list to the landlord.
Be Vocal and Adamant about Getting Repairs
Inform the landlord of any hazards that develop and anything that is need of repair.
If the landlord refuses to address the issue then:
- call the Aurora building inspectors at (303) 739-7420, or the health inspectors at the Tri-County Health Department;
- repair the problem and then either deduct the cost from the rent or sue the landlord in small claims court for the difference; or
- consider relocating.
Document All Correspondence and Transactions
For liability protection, keep a file of every pertinent piece of documentation including:
- repair receipts;
- the rental agreement and any subsequent amendments;
- copies of letters to the landlord;
- notes on the time/dates/content of conversations with the landlord; and
- medical bills and proof of lost wages if injured because of a landlord’s negligence.
Check Local Codes for Tenant-Landlord Statutes and Laws Protecting Renters
Landlords aren’t the only ones with responsibilities. In order to protect oneself from liability, tenants will need to ensure they fully understand their end of the deal and adhere to responsibilities.
For instance, tenants are required to:
- keep the rental clean and safe as the current conditions allow;
- use all equipment, tools, and systems (electrical, sanitary, plumbing, air-conditioning, etc.) as per designed usage; and
- fix any equipment, fixtures, tools, rental furniture, or systems that are broken.
To stay in compliance with renter protection laws, contact the Colorado Office of the Attorney General to request information, or search the Colorado Revised Statutes (CRS) for tenant-landlord articles.
Contact a Lawyer for Claim Assistance
CRS § 13-21-115 provides that renters have a right to file a suit against their landlords to “recover for damages caused by the landowner’s unreasonable failure to exercise reasonable care to protect against dangers of which he actually knew or should have known.”
If you or your family member were injured on your rental property, consult an attorney for assistance with a liability claim. If you are a renter in Aurora and have been injured as a result of your landlord’s negligence, contact the Law Office of D.J. Banovitz for a free legal consultation about exercising renters rights: (303) 300-5060.