When is a Landlord Liable for a Tenant’s Injury in North Carolina?

Personal injury Lawyer Matt Arnold answers the question: “What should I do if I have been injured by another party but I can’t afford a lawyer?”


When a tenant sustains an injury at a rental property, the question of the landlord’s liability becomes a central issue. Tenants can sustain serious injuries because of defective equipment, broken steps, missing handrails, or even burglary.

run-down-building-Mecklenburg-Iredell-Union-County-Personal-Injury-Lawyer-300x200What are the injured tenant’s rights when they sustain an injury at a rental property in Charlotte or other parts of North Carolina? Can they hold their landlord liable for the injury?


Are Landlords Liable for Tenants’ Injuries at a Rental Property in North Carolina?

Yes, a landlord could potentially be held responsible for a tenant’s injury when they fail to maintain the premises in a safe and habitable condition.

Case law shows that landlords can be sued for tenants’ injuries when the injury is caused by:

  • Defects or defective equipment
  • Negligent acts
  • Negligent omission to act

When an injured tenant can prove their landlord’s liability for the personal injury, they could be able to recover lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other damages.


Landlord’s Liability for Personal Injury Depends on the Type of Rental Property

Whether or not a landlord can be held liable for tenants’ injuries depends on many factors, including the type of rental property where the accident occurred. Generally speaking, rental property can be divided into two categories:

  • Leased premises, in which the landlord transfers possession and control of the premises to the tenant; or
  • Common property, or common areas, which is when a tenant shares the property along with other tenants. For example, in an apartment building, the apartment itself would be the leased premises while the stairwell, parking lot, hallways, and other common areas are considered common property.


Can a Landlord be Held Liable for Tenants’ Injuries?

Landlords have a duty to maintain the common areas in a safe condition and free of any hazards that could cause tenants’ injuries. As for leased premises, landlords previously had no duty to maintain the premises free of hazards because they had transferred possession and control of the premises to the tenant.

However, this changed when North Carolina passed the Residential Rental Agreement Act, which established a landlord’s duty to maintain the leased premises in a safe and habitable condition.

The Act prohibits landlords from renting “an unsafe or uninhabitable residence.” Also, under the NC General Statutes Section § 42-42, a landlord must comply with applicable building and housing codes to keep the premises free of hazards.

The law also requires tenants to notify their landlord of dangerous conditions or defects unless there is evidence that the landlord had prior knowledge of the defect or condition.

If the area controlled by the tenant has a hazardous condition that could cause harm to the tenant or guests, the landlord has a legal duty to fix the problem. However, the landlord’s failure to remedy the defect or dangerous conditions is not negligence in and of itself. For this reason, it is advised to speak with a Charlotte personal injury lawyer to help you prove the landlord’s negligence and recover damages for your injury at a rental property.

Contact our attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, to discuss a landlord’s liability in your particular situation. Call (704) 370-2828 to receive a video or phone consultation with our lawyers to explore your legal options or fill out our contact form. Now taking cases throughout North Carolina with offices in Uptown Charlotte, Mooresville and Monroe.







The skilled personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC are dedicated to maximizing the financial recovery and obtaining justice for every personal injury client injured by another party’s negligence. The issues our personal injury clients may be facing include, but are not limited to, slip and fall injuries, wrongful death, product liability, catastrophic injuries, dog bite claims, car and truck accident injuries, motorcycle injuries, traumatic brain injury (TBI), nursing home negligence, spinal cord injury, boating accidents, and defective medical device injury. Our personal injury attorneys understand the devastating impact such an injury can have on a person’s life, and that the effects so often go beyond physical pain and suffering. The personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC are dedicated to helping clients determine the strength of their claims, and to aggressively pursuing the means necessary to achieve the best possible end result for each client’s particular situation.







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