Is my landlord liable if he left my front door open and we were robbed?

I let my LL in to do some repairs. I left for the gym. He was still there upon return, and security door and apartment front door were open, so he could go back and forth, he explained. Bathroom is off to the side and in the back, so someone could easily enter unheard. My bike, ipad and wallet were stolen. He claims he has no liability, even though it happened only due to his negligence. This can’t be right?! I can’t afford to replace the items, nor can I afford my renter’s insurance deductible and resulting higher payments.

Asked on August 1, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Illinois


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

In the case you describe, the landlord may be liable, since 1) the apartment was under his control at the time and 2) the robbery apparently happened only due to his negligence in leaving the doors unlocked. If he won't pay voluntarily, you'd have to sue him for the money, and prove in court by a "preponderance of the evidence" (i.e. "more likely than not") that the landlord was responsible. One option is to sue in small claims court, where you could act as your own attorney.

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