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With Experience And Dedication


By: Morey Law Firm

April 23, 2024

Landlord Liability in Florida Wrongful Death Cases

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Landlord Liability in Orlando Wrongful Death Cases

When a fatal accident occurs on a property, determining who is responsible is not only a matter of justice but also a crucial aspect of providing closure and support for the bereaved family. In Florida, landlords may be held accountable for wrongful deaths that occur on their properties under specific circumstances. This article delves into the nuances of landlord liability in fatal cases as told by our Orlando wrongful death attorneys.

What is Landlord Liability?

Landlord liability refers to the legal responsibility that landlords have to ensure their property is safe for residents and visitors. In the context of wrongful death, this liability means that if a death occurs due to the landlord’s negligence in maintaining the safety of the property, they can be held legally responsible.

What are the Obligations of the Landlord to Maintain the Premises?

Florida Statute §83.51 imposes legal obligations on the landlord to maintain their rental property in a reasonably safe condition.

Florida Statute 83.51 states:

  • Landlords must maintain rental properties according to building, housing, and health codes, or ensure structural components are in good repair if no codes apply.
  • They must provide extermination services for pests, locks, clean common areas, garbage removal, and functioning heating and plumbing.
  • Smoke detection devices must be installed in single-family homes or duplexes at the start of the tenancy.

Examples of Landlord Negligence in Wrongful Death Cases

Landlord liability can manifest in various scenarios, including but not limited to:

  • Inadequate Building Maintenance: Faulty wiring, weak flooring, or crumbling structures that result in fatal accidents.
  • Lack of Security Measures: If a tenant or visitor is fatally injured due to inadequate security on the property, such as broken locks or lack of security cameras, the landlord may be held liable.
  • Failure to Address Hazardous Conditions: Exposure to toxic mold, lead paint, or other hazardous substances that could cause fatal illnesses.
  • Failure to Comply with Building Codes: Landlords who ignore local building codes regarding construction and safety standards might face liability if their non-compliance leads to a fatality, such as a fire or structural collapse.
  • Improper Ventilation in Industrial Properties: Inadequate ventilation in properties used for industrial or chemical purposes can lead to exposure to toxic fumes, potentially resulting in fatal poisoning or explosions.
  • Neglecting to Fence Off Swimming Pools: Landlords who fail to secure swimming pools in accordance with state laws may be held liable if a drowning incident occurs, especially involving children.
  • Inadequate Maintenance of Gas Appliances: Improperly maintained heaters, boilers, or stoves can leak carbon monoxide, a deadly gas that is odorless and colorless, leading to accidental poisoning.
  • Failure to Address Structural Instability: If a landlord has been made aware of potential structural issues, such as a shaky foundation, rotting wood, or deteriorating support beams, and does not take action, any resultant accident could be grounds for a wrongful death claim.
  • Negligence in Managing High-Rise Safety: In high-rise buildings, failure to maintain safety standards for windows, balconies, and railings can lead to fatal falls.
  • Lack of Emergency Preparedness: Landlords who do not provide clear emergency exit signs, functioning exit doors, and proper emergency lighting can be held responsible if a fatality occurs during an emergency situation where tenants cannot safely evacuate the building.

Real World Examples of Landlord Negligence

When a loved one is tragically lost due to conditions on someone else’s property, the pain is compounded by questions about responsibility and prevention. In Florida, landlords can be held legally accountable for wrongful deaths that occur due to their negligence in maintaining property safety. Here, we explore real-world examples where poor maintenance, inadequate security, and hazardous conditions have led to devastating outcomes.

  • Inadequate Building Maintenance: In a tragic incident in Miami, a balcony collapse due to deteriorated support beams resulted in the death of two tenants. Investigations revealed that the landlord had neglected multiple warnings to repair the aging structure.
  • Lack of Security Measures: In Orlando, a tenant was fatally assaulted after an intruder entered through a broken gate that had been reported but never fixed by the property management. The absence of functioning security cameras further contributed to the inability to capture the perpetrator, leading to questions about landlord negligence.
  • Failure to Address Hazardous Conditions: In Jacksonville, a child died from severe respiratory complications linked to black mold exposure in their rented apartment. Despite repeated complaints from residents about the mold, which was visually evident, the landlord failed to take remedial action, resulting in tragic consequences.

Morey Law Firm, P.A.: Orlando Wrongful Death Attorneys

As we reflect on these responsibilities and the potential consequences of neglect, it’s clear that landlords must prioritize safety and compliance. For those in Orlando facing the aftermath of a wrongful death on a rental property, understanding landlord liability is essential for seeking justice. Consulting with an Orlando wrongful death lawyer can be an invaluable step in navigating the legal challenges and pursuing accountability and compensation. This approach not only supports your path to recovery but also emphasizes the importance of diligent property management to prevent similar tragedies in the future.

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