Tenant Injury on Stairs

Injuries on stairs are common, including in rental properties. Whether the landlord is responsible for the injury will depend on several factors.

Landlords must keep common areas in a reasonably safe condition for tenants and their guests. If the stairs are in a common area the landlord may be liable for a failure to keep the stairs reasonably safe, which may include maintaining the stairs, taking reasonable measures to prevent snow and ice accumulation, and keeping the stairs reasonably well lit.

Residential landlords are liable if they breach the warranty of habitability.

Generally, a landlord has no duty to protect a tenant or guest from open and obvious dangers, but there are exceptions to this rule. If the landlord should anticipate the harm despite danger being open and obvious the landlord may still be liable. If the tenant has little choice but to use obviously decrepit stairs, for example, the landlord may be liable for personal injury even though the decrepit state of the stairs is open and obvious.

This is a quick summary of legal rules that apply if a tenant or tenant’s guests are injured on stairs. Consult with an attorney if you have questions.


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