On behalf of Riley Law Group PC posted on Wednesday, January 17, 2018.
Renting properties can be a lucrative source of income. However, basic requirements such as maintenance, repairs, lawn care and other necessities can cut into the profit margin for landlords. Some landlords decide to just stop performing repairs or maintenance. For these slum lords, they are happy enough to take the rent of hard-working people and families without providing a safe and clean space.
Many times, the issues associated with poor landlord maintenance result in annoyances and loss of quality of life. Issues like drafts, leaks and non-functioning windows or appliances can cause issues, but some people may choose to remain in a space instead of incurring the expenses associated with moving. Sadly, maintenance failures can lead to more serious issues. In cases of weak structures and water leaks, the potential for a ceiling collapse, especially after heavy rain, is a very real risk.
Every building requires basic maintenance
In order for a structure to remain safe, functional and secure, it requires basic repairs and regular inspections. A minor leak in the roof, for example, could cost only a few hundred dollars to properly fix. Failing to address it, however, can have catastrophic consequences. A landlord who decides to ignore a leak or to simply apply a mediocre patch that doesn’t resolve the root issue could face more serious issues later.
Over time, buildings settle. Foundations crack, walls and floors become uneven and leaks can often result. Similarly, shingles and even metal roofing age over time. Weather can also play a factor in the deterioration of the systems, like roofing, that keep your apartment building safe and structurally sound. Good landlords address these issues as they arise to protect their investment and their tenants. Slum lords, however, will wait until they have no choice but to make repairs.
Ceiling collapses can cost tenants thousands of dollars
When a roof or ceiling suddenly fails, the outcome can prove devastating for the tenants of the unit. Their furniture and other possessions may end up destroyed by the collapse. The unit will become unlivable until all debris gets removed and the structure gets repaired properly. In a best-case scenario, the tenant will need to replace many possessions and secure an alternative place to live until the unit is livable again.
Sometimes, however, people are at home in the unit when a ceiling collapses. The result could be severe injuries, such as concussions, broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries or even death. Children, the infirm, the elderly and even pets could end up crushed or severely hurt from a collapsed ceiling as a result of inadequate maintenance.
Landlords have a legal obligation to their tenants to provide a safe space in return for rental fees. If a landlord’s refusal to maintain a property results in injuries, tenants should look into holding them legally responsible.