Every time we enter a building, whether it is a store, an office, or someone’s home, we are placing trust in the property owner or manager of that premises. We trust that the owner or manager has kept the building, and its surrounding property, in a reasonably safe condition. We also trust that if any dangerous conditions are present, we will be warned about them.
Types of Conditions and Legal Obligations
Insecure building conditions that property owners or managers must remedy or repair include, but definitely are not limited to:
- Cracks, gaps, or foreign substances on the floor that cause a slip and fall;
- Structural flaws or degradation causing wall, floor, or ceiling collapses;
- Stairwell accidents due to loose steps or railings;
- Injuries caused by third parties due to poor building security
- Unrestrained, dangerous domestic animals;
- Unsafe building components, like lead paint; or
- Environmental conditions, such as mold.
Laws at the local, state, and federal level govern different aspects of building security and safety. Local and state building codes do not typically deal with the issue of injuries to visitors, but non-compliance with building codes may support an injured person’s claim for damages. Regulations related to lead paint, mold, and other hazardous environmental conditions in buildings provide standards for a property owner’s responsibilities. Local and state laws regulating domestic animals, including pets and livestock, often include provisions for restraint of animals known to be dangerous to humans. Evidence that a property owner has breached duties under relevant laws or regulations may also help in a claim for damages due to premises liability.