Is management liable for giving a key to my aperment to someone who then robbed it.

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Is management liable for giving a key to my aperment to someone who then robbed it.

I was out of town and someone the office claims was my son, who is listed on the
lease as an occupant, was given a key by management and gained entry to my
apartment and stole my car and van. My car was damaged in a hit n run and my
saltwater fishtank was damaged. My son is listed as an occupant but that was in
10/21/15 on a lease that expires on 11/30/16. He since turned 18 on 8/14/16 and
moved out. We submitted a new lease application to the office on 10/28/16 for the
new lease and he was not listed as an occupant but the lease was never signed
because we left on 11/4 out of town when this happened. Can the management
company be liable in anyway? My son denies he did this but is a suspect by police.

Asked on November 16, 2016 under Real Estate Law, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

It depends on whether the management office was reasonably careful or not in giving him the key. They are not liable for this criminal act itself--one person (or entity, like an LLC or corporation) is not liable, or responsible, for the criminal acts of other persons unless they knowingly participated in, assisted, etc. those acts. So their only liability would be for their act in giving him the key.
You say that you had submitted an application to remove him, but the revised lease was not yet signed. That means that legally, he was still an occupant; therefore, you son was legally entitled to enter. If it was your son then, the landlord/management company would not be liable--they allowed iin a person who was allowed in.
Or if it was not your son, but he had good forged ID that would pass a reasonable inspection, then the management company would not be liable either if they did look at the ID to verify who it was--they are not liable if they took reasonable steps to ensure security, but were tricked by someone.
But if it was not your son and the person did not have ID showing him as your son, or he did but no reasonable person would have been fooled (e.g. ethnicity, age, or appearance, etc. did not match), then the managment company would likely be liable. In this instance, they did not exercise reasonable care to secure entry and protect their tenants.


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