New Law Limits Liability for Florida Apartment Complex Owners

Many Miami residents choose to rent their residences, taking advantage of the fact that the landlord handles maintenance, common areas, amenities, and other tasks. You have expectations of safety in the place that you call home, so security is at the top of the list when you consider landlord responsibilities. Proper security measures, including locks, lighting, and cameras, are critical in an urban area like Miami, where criminal activity occurs. 

Until recently, residents have been able to hold landlords accountable for injuries from criminal attacks under the concept of premises liability. When the property owner is negligent with security, victims can seek monetary damages for their losses. A new law imposes some limitations on this theory of liability, so you should be aware of how it affects your rights. A Miami premises liability lawyer can assist with the legal process, but you can read on for an overview.

How the Law Works

The new statute on liability for owners of multifamily residential complexes creates a legal presumption, which means that the law takes a fact for true even if it has not been proven. With this statute, apartment building owners are presumed to NOT be liable if they implement the security measures described in the law.

Only multifamily residential properties with at least five dwellings are covered by the law, so it is not a concern if you live in a smaller complex. Also, the statute only applies when a third party causes harm to a resident in a criminal attack. The landlord does not get the benefit of the presumption if the crime is committed by an employee or agent.

Proving a Premises Liability Case

The property owner gains a presumption under the new law, so your strategy for overcoming it is to show that the security measures do not comply. Still, you will need to prove your case for premises liability:

  • The landlord had a duty to maintain a safe residential space for residents and guests.
  • The owner of the multifamily residential unit breached this duty by not implementing security measures to protect against foreseeable harm.
  • The breach of duty was the direct cause of the criminal attack in which you were injured.
  • You suffered losses as a result of the assault.

Your options for seeking compensation include filing an insurance claim and attempting to settle or suing your landlord in court. Through these remedies, you can recover damages for medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and many other losses.

Contact a Miami Premises Liability Attorney to Discuss Strategy

There may be some challenges with suing your landlord for damages after a criminal attack, but our team at Gerson & Schwartz, PA, is ready to face them. We are well-versed in the new statute limiting liability, so please contact our offices in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, or West Palm Beach, FL, today. You can call (305) 371-6000 or visit us online to set up a free case evaluation with a Florida premises liability lawyer.

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The National Center for Victims of Crime
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