If you own any kind of property, you have the responsibility to keep it safe and secure. You could be held liable if anyone gets hurt on your property. The obligations and liabilities of commercial property owners can get a bit more complicated though, especially if someone else is renting the space out. Here is what our New York commercial litigation & real estate lawyers think that commercial property owners should know.
What is a Duty of Care?
When someone is on your property, they are owed what is called a “duty of care.” The expectation is that you, as the owner of the property, have done everything that you possibly could to keep it safe. If someone is invited onto your property and gets injured, they may be able to sue you for negligence. They would just have to show that this hazard was something that a responsible commercial property owner should have known about and addressed.
What Can Commercial Property Owners Be Held Liable For?
Commercial property owners can be held liable for all sorts of injuries that occur on their property. Common causes for lawsuits include:
- Slip and fall accidents
- Poor or negligent security
- Property defects
Which Areas Should Commercial Property Owners Focus Their Safety Efforts On?
As a commercial property owner, you need to be focused on some common trouble spots that are often the subject of lawsuits. If you are trying to keep your property as safe as possible, you should:
- Employ adequate security
- Be prepared to handle slipping hazards when they come up
- Keep the building in good shape
- Ensure that sidewalks and walkways are safe to navigate
- Improve lighting in low-light areas
- Keep escalators and/or elevators in top shape
When you do things like this, you are keeping the property safer for customers, employees, maintenance people, and anyone else who wanders onto it.
What if I Am Renting Out the Commercial Property?
This is where things can get a bit complicated though. What if an owner is renting their property out to someone else? Does the commercial property owner have any legal obligation at that point?
It all depends on how the lease is worded. In some cases, the renter of the property could be the one who would be held responsible in a premises liability case. The lease can show who is responsible for building maintenance and who would be liable when someone is injured on the property.
Contact an Experienced Lawyer
If you want to avoid premises liability lawsuits, you need to do your best to keep your property safe. At David A. Gallo & Associates LLP we have plenty of experience working with commercial property owners, so contact us if you have any concerns. We would be happy to schedule a consultation.