Who is liable for my stolen fishing equipment at a marina?

My fishing equipment was stolen from boat while parked at a marina’s secured storage. The fence was in need of repairs, so thieves went under fence. I paid for storage but never signed any agreement. Is the marina liable due to their negligence?

Asked on January 14, 2013 under Real Estate Law, New Jersey


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

The marina is most likely not liable. As a general matter, a landlord is not responsible for the criminal actions of third parties. While sometimes landlord negligence (unreasonable carelessness) in not providing adequate security will make the landlord liable, that generally takes a showing of all the following:

1) The level of security is definitively less than other, similarly situated landlords provide;

2) The landlord knew, or logically had to know, of the defect; and

3) The theft only occured due to the defect--that is, the thieves would not have been able to gain entrance any way. Thus, in regards to this last point, you'd have to show that the fact that the fence was in need of repairs was why the theieves could get in--and not they would have been able to go under the fence if it had been maintained. You'd also have to show that the marina was aware of that vulnerability.

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.