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Cars were burgled in my complex. Is landlord liable?

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  • Cars were burgled in my complex. Is landlord liable?

    Recently a bunch of cars were burgled in my complex. Normally, I would secede that it is the car owner's responsibility, not the Landlord/Apartment complex.

    However, I am able to show that my building's front door doesn't lock properly. In fact, it is almost always unlocked. Furthermore, I spoke with a woman a few months back in the elevator, and she too was displeased with the broken door. In fact, she said that she contacted maintenance several times and still nothing has been done about the door.

    Do I have a case against the Landlord? They will not credit me for the losses sustained, and I'm unsure whether or not the judge would rule in my favor, with my primary defense being Landlord negligence.

    Thanks!

  • #2
    re: Cars were burgled in my complex. Is landlord liable?

    You're kidding, right? Unless your cars were inside the building, I don't see how one item has anything to do with the other. If you want the front door repaired so it locks, WRITE a letter to management to ask for the repair. Send the letter CERTIFIED, return receipt requested. Keep a copy of the letter and the post card that comes back. If it is not repaired within 30 days, contact a building inspector. However, since this is not a habitability problem, you cannot rent withhold if it is not corrected. And since it is not your rented area, but a common area, you cannot repair and deduct the cost either. Whether a building inspector would order them to fix a common area door would depend on local building code. Many common area doors do not lock in some states. Other areas require locking exterior doors. If the building code in your area requires that it lock, the LL will be forced to fix it. But write the letter to him first and give him the chance to fix it. The maintenance department of complexes often "forgets" about requested repairs. Send it to the LL so they can't forget.

    As for car break ins, unless your LL did the break ins, he is not responsible. These crimes occurred in a common parking lot. As you said, you were not the only victim. Contact your auto insurance to file a claim for any loss. The LL failing to fix an exterior door lock has nothing to do with your car. No judge would ever rule for you based on that.

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    • #3
      Re: Cars were burgled in my complex. Is landlord liable?

      Originally posted by Unregistered View Post
      You're kidding, right? Unless your cars were inside the building, I don't see how one item has anything to do with the other. If you want the front door repaired so it locks, WRITE a letter to management to ask for the repair. Send the letter CERTIFIED, return receipt requested. Keep a copy of the letter and the post card that comes back. If it is not repaired within 30 days, contact a building inspector. However, since this is not a habitability problem, you cannot rent withhold if it is not corrected. And since it is not your rented area, but a common area, you cannot repair and deduct the cost either. Whether a building inspector would order them to fix a common area door would depend on local building code. Many common area doors do not lock in some states. Other areas require locking exterior doors. If the building code in your area requires that it lock, the LL will be forced to fix it. But write the letter to him first and give him the chance to fix it. The maintenance department of complexes often "forgets" about requested repairs. Send it to the LL so they can't forget.

      As for car break ins, unless your LL did the break ins, he is not responsible. These crimes occurred in a common parking lot. As you said, you were not the only victim. Contact your auto insurance to file a claim for any loss. The LL failing to fix an exterior door lock has nothing to do with your car. No judge would ever rule for you based on that.
      Thanks for the response. Just to clarify, the cars are parked in a gated garage, and the door being unlocked allows outsiders access to all vehicles in the closed garage, as well as any individual apartment unit.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Cars were burgled in my complex. Is landlord liable?

        Originally posted by Unregistered View Post
        Thanks for the response. Just to clarify, the cars are parked in a gated garage, and the door being unlocked allows outsiders access to all vehicles in the closed garage, as well as any individual apartment unit.
        The"gated" garage is not a secure place if it is open to the public. It is a public and common area where anyone can access. If you knew this, you park in such an area at your own risk. Sorry.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Cars were burgled in my complex. Is landlord liable?

          If the lot has no security, could it possibly Landlords fault?

          I had my car stolen once while I was at work, and because my boss didn't have a secure lot for employees to park he was liable for my car. I also belonged to a union which helped me out though.

          Comment

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