Can apartment complexes get into legal trouble if they withhold important information concerning their residents?

UPDATED: May 25, 2012

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Can apartment complexes get into legal trouble if they withhold important information concerning their residents?

My car has been broken into 3 times in the last 6 months, my window was broken, and many items stolen; I later found out that the breaks ins happening around the complex were related to a local drug ring, also the complex punished the maintenance staff for informing the residents about break-ins.

Asked on May 25, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Colorado


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, there is probably nothing you can do about the failure to provide information about the drug ring--there is no general obligation on businesses of any sort, or indeed, on any persons, to discuss or provide information about local crime committed by third parties. And since there is no obigation to provide this information, an apartment complex may require or instruct its staff to not discuss it--and punish them if they do not follow that instruction.

The only exception where there could be some legal consequence for not providing information relating to local crime would be if on signing on renewing a lease, a tenant specifically asks about crime; in that case, if knowing of local criminals or criminal activity, the apartment complex lies about it, that could be fraud, and could give rise to the right of that tenant to break the lease (void it) or seek monetary compensation.

However, a landlord is obligated to provide "reasonable" security for tenants, and what is reasonable is judged in part by neigborhood conditions. If your neighborhood is known to have a lot of criminal activity, your landlord may have to do more to counter it--e.g. more lights, security patrols, etc. If you have suffered damage or losses because your landlord is not providing adequate site security in light of local conditions, it is possible that you may have a lawsuit or cause of action against the landlord. It would be worthwhile for you to consult in detail about the circumstances and your losses with a landlord-tenant attorney, to see if you might have a viable claim.

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 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.

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