As a personal injury attorney, it’s my job to fight for you if you’re harmed because of someone’s poor decisions, carelessness, or ill intent. 

Occasionally, I speak with someone who suffered injuries due to the negligence of the apartment or home they rented.

One lady, I’ll call her Lisa, came to me—her back braced from the neck down. She’d fallen three stories after the metal railing she’d been leaning against gave way.

After being rushed by ambulance to the nearest emergency room, she was treated for a broken neck, punctured lung, and about a dozen internal injuries.  After emergency surgeries, a week in intensive care, and two more weeks in the hospital, she was released–with almost $100,000 in medical bills, a neck brace, and a list of follow-up appointments with specialists for the necessary and expensive treatment she could not afford.  She couldn’t work. She could barely walk.

The doctors told her she was lucky to be alive–and she was grateful to still be here, but it was hard to feel optimistic when her doctors were telling her she may never walk again without the aid of a walker or cane.

To make matters worse, the apartment company’s insurance adjuster kept hounding her. She didn’t know what to say. She was afraid that any statement she made would be twisted to imply she’d somehow been to blame.   Then, seemingly out of the blue, they’d offered her a cash settlement that seemed too good to be true.

Her family was urging her to take it and move on. But she wasn’t so sure. She knew she was still in a lot of pain, and her doctors kept telling her she had a long road ahead with her recovery.  She came to me in tears, not knowing what to do, not knowing what move to make and what her future held in store.

When you rent a property, you expect a safe and habitable place to live. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.  Sometimes, situations like toxic mold or structural concerns arise, making a rented home unsafe or uninhabitable.

If you ever discover safety concerns in your rented home, here are the steps you need to take:

  1. Document the Problem

The moment you notice a safety concern, document it thoroughly. Take photographs or videos and make detailed notes about the issue.

 

  1. Notify Your Landlord

Inform your landlord or property manager about the issue immediately. Send a written notice via email or certified mail outlining the problem, its location, and the date you reported it. Keep a copy of this correspondence for your records.

 

  1. Review Your Lease Agreement

Examine your lease agreement to understand your rights and responsibilities and those of your landlord. Pay particular attention to sections related to repairs, maintenance, and the landlord’s obligations regarding the safety and habitability of the property.

 

  1. Request Repairs in Writing

If your landlord does not address the issue promptly, submit a written request for repairs. State the problem clearly, provide a reasonable deadline for resolution, and send it via certified mail with a return receipt to ensure documentation.

 

  1. Contact Local Authorities

If your rented home remains unsafe despite your efforts, contact local housing authorities or code enforcement agencies. They can inspect the property and issue citations or orders to compel your landlord to address the problems.

 

  1. Withhold Rent (if Legal)

In some cases, you may be legally permitted to withhold rent until necessary repairs are made. However, this should be done cautiously and only in compliance with local and state laws. Consult with an attorney if you’re considering this option!

 

  1. Seek Legal Counsel

If you properly report and document your concerns and the landlord still does nothing, call an attorney specializing in landlord-tenant disputes. They can advise you on the best course of action and help you understand your legal rights.

 

Lastly, Consider Moving

The safety and well-being of you and your family are most important.  For my client, Lisa, it was too late to prevent the life-altering injuries she suffered due to a poorly maintained railing.  All I could do was help ensure she was fairly compensated, and her medical needs taken care of for decades to come. But if you’re ever in a situation where you feel your safety is at risk, move—even if it’s to a hotel. Keep all receipts and records related to moving expenses, as you may be entitled to reimbursement.

 

If you ever find yourself injured or harmed due to the negligence of a landlord or property owner, do not hesitate to call my office at 301-949-1515 (Maryland) or 703-761-4343 (Virginia).

Until next time, please be safe, and NEVER text while driving!

Paul Samakow

Attorney Paul Samakow

703-761-4343 or 301-949-1515.

 

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