Brighton, MA asked in Landlord - Tenant, Personal Injury and Wrongful Death for Massachusetts

Q: Can a landlord be held liable for injuries in a tenants leased space that they have full control of?

Id like to know if a commercial landlord can be held liable for any personal injuries suffered by any persons within the confines of the tenants leased space that a tenant has full control of, when the tenant agrees per lease agreement they are solely responsible to perform ALL upkeep, repairs and maintenance to the interior leased space, also is responsible to assure the interior leased space abides by all city & state laws and ordinances further insurance requirements and when the tenant also agrees to indemnify and hold the landlord harmless from any injuries to any persons whatsoever within the leased space ?

2 Lawyer Answers
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Landlord Tenant Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: In general, a commercial landlord's liability for injuries that occur within a tenant's leased space is limited when the tenant has full control over the space and has agreed to maintain it. However, there are some exceptions and nuances to consider:

1. Lease agreement: If the lease clearly states that the tenant is solely responsible for maintaining the space, abiding by laws and ordinances, and indemnifying the landlord, this can help protect the landlord from liability in many cases.

2. Landlord's negligence: If the injury is caused by the landlord's direct negligence, such as failing to repair a structural defect that they were responsible for fixing, the landlord may still be held liable despite the lease agreement.

3. Common areas: The landlord typically remains responsible for maintaining common areas, such as lobbies, elevators, and parking lots. If an injury occurs in these areas, the landlord may be liable.

4. Latent defects: If there are hidden defects in the property that the landlord knew about or should have known about but failed to disclose to the tenant, the landlord could be held liable for resulting injuries.

5. Illegal lease provisions: Some jurisdictions may have laws that prohibit landlords from fully shifting liability to tenants. If the lease contains illegal provisions, the landlord may still be held responsible.

6. Gross negligence or intentional misconduct: In cases of gross negligence or intentional misconduct by the landlord, the indemnification clause in the lease may not protect them from liability.

Ultimately, the specific circumstances of the case and the applicable state and local laws will determine whether the landlord can be held liable. It's advisable for landlords to consult with a local attorney specializing in real estate law to ensure their lease agreements are enforceable and provide adequate protection.

Tim Akpinar
Tim Akpinar
  • Little Neck, NY

A: It could depend on the facts and circumstances of any given incident, in terms of the actions of each individual, and their respective liabilities. Good luck

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