Property owners and managers have a responsibility to make sure they maintain a safe environment. In New York, many people rely on building and property owners to keep rental properties free from hazards as there are many people who rent work spaces and apartments. Renters should be able to expect that the property owners will address and remedy unsafe conditions, but all too often this does not happen.
Landlords in New York are required to maintain properties so that they are safe, clean and do not present a threat to tenants. Should a problem arise, they are responsible for resolving it. One woman recently filed a premises liability lawsuit against her former landlord for negligence that caused her to get injured and lose almost everything she owned. A jury recently awarded the woman $800,000 for what she has had to endure.
According to reports, the woman was a tenant in a building that was infested with bedbugs. Initially, she was not aware of the bugs but her landlord was. She started getting bitten by the bugs and the problem only got worse.
Rather than address the woman's concerns, the landlord reportedly ignored the complaints that she and other tenants had made. Adding insult to injury, the landlord ended up evicting the woman with the bedbug problem and put all her belongings outside of the apartment where they were quickly stolen.
She filed the lawsuit against the landlord, claiming that he should have fumigated the property and addressed the bedbug issue. A jury sympathized with trauma the woman had experienced and awarded her a total of $800,000. Reports specify that $650,000 of this total was punitive damages, which indicates that the jury believed the landlord's actions were malicious, reckless or deceitful.
Source: New York Daily News, "Maryland tenant awarded $800,000 over bedbug infestation, eviction by landlord," Lee Moran, June 3, 2013