If I rent and fell down my stairs because of a loose step, is my landlord liable?

Asked on July 18, 2015 under Personal Injury, North Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

The landlord *may* be liable: it depends on whether he was aware of the loose stair, such as because someone reported it to him, or because it was so obviously loose, and had been so obviously loose for a sufficient period of time, that the landlord's onsite staff (if it has any; like a superintendent) must reasonably or logically have seen the problem.

If the landlord did in fact know of the problem, or reasonably *must* have known, but despite knowing of it, did nothing to correct it, then the landlord may be liable for your injuries and costs. (Remember: even if the landlord is liable, you can only recover compensation equivalent to your injuries and costs--you cannot receive compensation for falling if, for example, you were not, as we hope, hurt in any significant way.)

On the other hand, since liability is based on fault, if the landlord did not know and reasonably would not have been expected to know of the problem, then they are not liable for not fixing it.

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