When you applied to rent your New Jersey apartment, there were probably all sorts of requirements and tons of paperwork to fill out before you could actually move in. In fact, your experience might be like many others in the past who have said they felt like they were “signing their lives away” when all they wanted were basic, no-frills places to call home. Once you got through all the red tape, you were likely excited and happy to spend your first night in your new apartment.
You’re not the only one who was under obligation when you signed your new lease. Your landlord, too, has several responsibilities and obligations to follow as well. For instance, providing a safe environment inside your home and in the surrounding outside area is of paramount importance.
What constitutes a safe apartment environment?
It’s one thing to say your landlord is obligated to keep you safe and quite another to interpret the statement. If you’re not aware of what types of things fall under this category, you might want to seek clarification incase a problem ever arises. Here are some typical safety issues for which the average landlord may be responsible:
- Front door security: Minimally speaking, the main door of an apartment building should have a deadbolt lock. Many landlords install additional security.
- Windows and hinges: Inside an individual apartment dwelling (and throughout the building) each window should include properly installed and working hinges and locks.
- Wiring: All apartments must be up to code with regard to electrical wiring, heating, etc.
- Areas free of debris: Hallways, stairwells and surrounding outdoor areas must be kept clear of hazardous materials and obstructions.
- No unsupervised workers: A landlord should not let any unsupervised worker into the general building area or a particular person’s apartment.
In time, you’ve probably come to know many of your apartment neighbors, or you at least recognize familiar faces. If any situation causes you concern, you can bring it to your landlord’s immediate attention. The same goes for anything you believe is placing you at risk for injury. Your landlord is obligated to address such situations in a timely manner to maintain the highest possible level of personal safety available according to accepted standards of operation.
What if you fall and get hurt or suffer some other injury?
Suppose you are walking down the main stairs of your apartment building. You place your hand on the available safety rail as you walk. Just then, the rail gives way and dislodges from where it is bolted to the wall. You go tumbling down the stairs and suffer a broken ankle (or worse). Many premises accidents involve injuries suffered from various types of falls, including those that occur on stairs, on slippery floors or from balconies.
If you have suffered bodily harm in or directly outside your apartment and you believe your landlord is somehow culpable, you may take the following steps:
- Seek medical care if needed: If you’re hurt, then it’s first things first. Getting appropriate medical care is a priority.
- Report it: It is always best to let a landlord know when a tenant has suffered injury in an apartment accident.
- Call employer: If your injury has rendered you unable to work, it is wise to let your employer know right away.
- Contact a personal injury lawyer: An experienced attorney can review your situation and determine whether evidence of premises liability exists.
Hopefully, any injury you have suffered is minor and you have received a prognosis for swift and full recovery. Sadly, this is not always the case. Whether you are back to work in no time or you have suffered serious injuries that require extended medical care and a long recovery period, you have the right to seek compensation for damages against any and all parties deemed liable.
As your personal advocate, a skilled attorney can seek the most amicable and cost-effective means for obtaining justice, and is always prepared to aggressively litigate any particular issue that warrants it.