Who Is Responsible for Premises Liability Accidents in a New Jersey Rental Property?
A rental property in New Jersey can contain many hazards that put tenants and guests at risk of serious injuries. A balcony with structural problems could collapse, for example, or a faulty staircase could cause a trip and fall accident. Determining who is responsible for premises liability accidents on rental properties in New Jersey can help you understand your rights if you get injured in this type of accident.
The Property Owner Is Responsible for Maintenance and Care
Under New Jersey’s premises liability laws, the owner of a property has a legal duty and obligation to keep a rental property safe for renters and visitors. Tenants are treated as the highest level of guest (invitees) as people who reside on the rental property for the owner’s benefit. Invitees are owed the greatest duties of care by property owners in New Jersey, meaning:
- The owner must regularly inspect the rental property for new or hidden defects, hazards or injury risks.
- The owner must promptly repair any dangerous conditions discovered in the rental unit or common areas on the property.
- The owner must post conspicuous warning signs regarding any property hazards that may not be obvious to the average person.
Tenants and visitors who have the right to be on the rental property are owed a safe premises. Property owners and landlords must use a high level of vigilance and care to prevent injury risks when maintaining rental properties. Ignoring any property defect or hazard can increase the risk of harmful accidents taking place at the rental property – and the landlord being held liable (legally and financially responsible).
Landlords Are Responsible for the Habitability of Rental Units
Landlords have their own set of laws in New Jersey that require them to maintain safe environments for tenants. Under state law, tenants have a right to habitable premises, meaning a property that is safe, sanitary and fit for residential purposes. It is against state law for a landlord to allow a rental unit to fall into a state of inhabitability, where its vital facilities (e.g., water, toilets, heat, electricity, doors and windows) are broken or defective.
If the landlord receives a maintenance request or notice from a tenant regarding a vital facility that is broken, he or she has a legal responsibility to fix the defect in a reasonable amount of time. If the landlord ignores the request and does not maintain the habitability of a rental unit, the tenant has the right to make repairs and deduct the costs of repairs from the rent due. If a landlord’s neglect to maintain a safe premises results in tenant injury, the landlord could be held legally responsible.
What About Airbnb or VRBO?
If you get injured while staying at a short-term rental in New Jersey, such as an Airbnb or VRBO, you may have different rights than at a standard rental property. State law still enables you to bring a claim against the negligent owner of the property or the person who rented it to you. Furthermore, if the company was negligent in some way that contributed to the incident, such as by failing to supervise the property owner, you could seek compensation from the company itself. Most major short-term rental apps offer around $1 million in coverage for guests who are injured in their rentals.
Discuss Liability for Your Injuries With an Attorney in New Jersey
Recovering fair financial compensation for a serious injury suffered while staying at a rental property in New Jersey can be difficult. You may need to hire an experienced premises liability lawyer near you to help you evaluate the merits of your case, identify the liable party or parties, file your lawsuit, and negotiate a favorable settlement with an insurance provider. For more information, request a free consultation with one of our attorneys at (201) 834-7043.