If my apartment was burglarized and the landlord refused to move me to another apartment, what are my rights?

The landlord refused to transfer me to another apartment when the thief had stolen my keys, money, a gun and laptop. I have a police victim notice report and moved out of my apartment. The landlord then proceeded to file an eviction notice and sent me to court. The judge told me he could not give legal advice. Do I have to pay? What are the landlords responsibilities when my infant and my safety was at risk?

Asked on December 7, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Arizona

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

The landlord is NOT responsible for the burglary, *unless* you can show that it was due to inadequate security the landlord provided--something like a front door to the building which did not lock; or the lock on your door was broken, the landlord knew about it, and refused or failed to fix it. If the landlord was at fault, then you could potentially sue the landlord for compensation (e.g. the value of what was stolen) and/or for a court order forcing him/her to fix the problem. But even then, if you stoped paying rent on an apartment, you would almost certainly be in violation of the lease and subject to eviction. Also, it is very unlikely that, even if the landlord were at fault, that he/she would have to move you to another apartment; instead, the landlord's obligation would be to fix the specific problems (e.g. a broken lock) which lead to his/her liability.

If the landlord were not a fault, then the landlord would not be responsible in any way for the criminal actions of a third-party, and you would have no claims or recourse against the landord. The landlord does not have to pay for, either directly or indirectly, the wrongful criminal acts of others.


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