If I fell through the floor of my rental property, can I sue my landlord?

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If I fell through the floor of my rental property, can I sue my landlord?

My landlord came and put down a piece of plywood and have not come back since. I went to the doctor emergency room the next day and found out I had a sprained knee. I was on crutches and out of work for a couple of days. The landlord to me that was my problem and I was not going to get anything. Can I sue him for hospital bill, lost wages and pain and suffering?

Asked on June 10, 2011 under Real Estate Law, South Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

All rentals come with what's known as an "implied warranty of habitability." This is term implied or added to the lease--even if it's not written in there, or even if there is no written lease--and which a tenant may enforce. This implied warranty states that the premises must be fit and safe for their intended purpose; in this case, residence. A tenant falling through a hole in the floor is NOT fit and safe for residence.

While it's *possible* that in some cases, the landlord may not be at fault--for example, the damage came because the downstairs neighbor was ripping down his ceiling without notice or permission--if the problem is in any way traceable to the landlord--for example, to bad maintenance or to  the landlord not correcting a known problem--then you would have good grounds to sue for medical costs, loss of wages, and possibly pain and suffering.

It would be worthwhile for you to consult with a personal injury attorney.


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