May 16, 2019
Indianapolis has been an unfortunate target of a recent real estate scam that caused investors to lose millions and tenants to lose more than just money. In one case, a woman living in one of the properties involved in the scam gave birth prematurely due to the lack of adequate heating in their home. Her family had reported the broken furnace 26 times over the course of the winter. By the time their landlord took action 3 months later, the damage had been done.
While their case is an extreme one, injuries caused by landlord negligence are not uncommon. Both tenants and landlords share responsibility for keeping the property in a good condition. However, if a landlord’s negligence causes a tenant to become injured, the tenant may have a case for a premises liability claim.
The Tenant’s Responsibility
Tenants must keep their rental area in good condition, but that doesn’t extend to making repairs or fixing broken appliances. Once a tenant becomes aware of a broken appliance or leaky pipe, they need to report it to their landlord immediately so that repairs can happen as soon as possible.
The Landlord’s Responsibility
In Indiana, landlords are required to keep their rental properties safe, clean, and livable. Not only does this mean salting icy sidewalks and mowing the lawn, but it also means regular maintenance and upkeep. This includes maintaining heating and air conditioning systems.
Landlords must also make tenants aware of potential health hazards, like asbestos and other problems, before signing the lease. If the landlord knew the heater was faulty, then they must tell you about the problem before you move in.
However, you can’t expect your landlord to fix problems they don’t know about. This is why it is so important for tenants to make landlords aware of maintenance needs as soon as they become apparent. A broken heater is a major problem that requires immediate action. Alerting your landlord sooner helps them fix the problem faster, so you can go back to living comfortably.
What If My Landlord Doesn’t Fix My Furnace?
By renting you a property that they own, your landlord is agreeing to keep the property fit for habitation. But a property without heating is unlivable.
Your landlord must take action to fix the problem within a reasonable amount of time after learning about the issue. Failing to do so would count as negligence of their legal responsibility as landlord. And if you become injured or seriously ill because of their negligence, then you could have a case for a premises liability claim.
Even if your landlord told you about the broken heater before you signed the lease, they are still legally responsible for damages if the faulty heater causes the property to become uninhabitable.
Help from an Indianapolis Premises Liability Lawyer
As a tenant, you have a right to live in a safe and habitable environment with adequate heating. If you or someone you know has fallen ill because of their landlord’s negligence, Hensley Legal Group may be able to help. Call us today or contact us online for a free conversation about your claim. Our Indiana personal injury lawyers are here to help.