If my parking lot I park in is full of potholes but my landlord will not fix them and as a result my car is falling apart, do I have any rights?

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If my parking lot I park in is full of potholes but my landlord will not fix them and as a result my car is falling apart, do I have any rights?

My landlord refuses to fix potholes that cover our parking areas in many places. Some are over 3-4 inches deep and the biggest one is probably close to 2 feet in diamater and 4 inches deep. As a result my car is falling apart. I need a new wheel bearing on my rear passenger side, and tie rods for my front. I drive a car and it is very low to the ground. Do I have any legal rights?

Asked on May 22, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Michigan

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

While a landlord is not a tenant's insurer--that is, he or she is not liable for damage to the tenant's property (including a car) simply because it occured on the landlord's  property--the  landlord may be liable for damage caused by a failure to make repairs, perform maintenance, or correct a condition after the landlord has notice of the risk, hazard or problem. That is, once the landlord has been made aware of a problem that poses a risk to person or property, he or she is under a duty to take reasonable steps to remediate it. If you have put your landlord on notice of the potholes, but he or she still refuses to correct them, you may be able to hold her liable if you can show 1) that she had notice; 2) the pothole(s) caused the damage; and 3) you were not yourself driving negligently recklessly.

From what you write, it would appear that you may have a viable legal claim, and could attempt to sue your landlord for the cost of repair if he or she will not voluntarily cover it.


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