Sarah and her infant son Jason have recently moved into an apartment. Her 11 month old son has just been introduced to the joys of walking. He’s inquisitive, touches everything and requires constant supervision. She provides him with as much supervision as possible and even has the apartment baby proofed. But, unbeknownst to her, the corner in his playroom where she parks his favorite toy truck has an exposed wire slightly jutting out from underneath the carpet. One Saturday morning, while enjoying a weekend play session with her son, the wire made contact with his right leg. Jason was left with a scratch and minor electrical burns. He was kept for observation for a period of two days, and Sarah’s refusal to return to the apartment until it underwent a thorough inspection, resulted in a 2 day hotel stay. Sarah later found out that the flow of current was below 10 mA (milliamperes), thus resulting in minimal damage. If the current flow was higher, the consequence could have possibly been loss of life.
The scenario above is nothing more than a story. But it is a highly possible occurrence when landlords are negligent in regard to their responsibilities. Leaky ceilings can cause roofs to fall, broken tiles can cause cuts and scrapes and wounds, insect infestation and mould can cause illness, and rotting or improperly spaced banisters and railings can cause serious fall injuries. In accordance with the Residential Tenancies Act of Canada, 20 (1),
“A landlord is responsible for providing and maintaining a residential complex, including the rental units in it, in a good state of repair and fit for habitation and for complying with health, safety, housing and maintenance standards.”
Thus, any landlord offering a building for rent is implicitly making the statement that the building is safe to inhabit. This applies even in cases where the landlord informs the tenant of deficiencies that the building may have. In reference to the above scenario, even if the landlord had informed Sarah of the possible existence of exposed live wires and she decided to inhabit the apartment despite this knowledge, the landlord would still be liable.
The landlord’s negligence has given Sarah grounds to make a personal injury claim. The landlord or his/her insurance company would be responsible for all medical bills incurred by Sarah on behalf of Jason, in addition to the costs of their hotel stay and other expenses related to the building safety violation. A competent lawyer could also argue that the experience was a traumatic one for young Jason, as well as for his mother, and make a claim for pain and suffering.
Landlord negligence can prove to be costly to both landlords and tenants. It can cost money, health and life. If you, or someone you know, has incurred injuries as a result of negligence on the part of a landlord, the experienced lawyers at Rastin & Associates can help you understand your rights and ensure that you are fairly compensated for your injuries and economic losses.