Can I sue my landlord for letting a handyman who stole from us into ourrental unsupervised?

Landlord recently hired a handyman to fix small issues in our apartment and left him unsupervised. Jewelery, cash, and other things were stolen. Can I sue?

Asked on September 16, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Unless there was some failure on the part of the landlord, probably not. A landlord may enter tenant's apartments to make repairs; and a landlord may hire someone to do that for him, and is not obligated to monitor the person each moment. As long as the landlord took reasonable steps in hiring this person--e.g. it was someone who was recommended, or whom the landlord had used previously without problem--and did not have warning of any issues (e.g. no one had previously complained of lost or stolen items when this person was around; the landlord was not aware of any prior arrests for burglary or theft; etc.), then the landlord  is  probably not liable. That, of course, does not mean that you cannot sue the handyman yourself, if you believe he stole, and/or report him to the police.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.