20181003 Owner liable for tenant’s injury?

20181003 (Wed)

My tenant told me he fell while climbing the stairs. His medical bills cost RM15,000 because he broke his shoulder and had to undergo a surgery with an implant. He is now claiming the cost of medical treatment due to the slippery stairs in the house. AM I LIABLE?

A landlord is only liable for the injuries of tenants and visitors in cases where the landlord’s negligence has caused the injuries in the above circumstances. Additionally, this negligence must be the direct cause of the injury.

For example, a landlord is negligent in failing to repair a broken step on the front stairwell, so you use a properly functioning back stairwell to get to your apartment, but in doing so you fall and injure yourself. The landlord’s negligence will not be deemed to be the direct cause of your injuries and the landlord will not be liable for damages.

For landlord liability to attach, the following must be proven:

  1. the landlord had a duty to fix the dangerous condition and breached his duty by not fixing it in a reasonable amount of time–a broken step would not be required to be fixed in just an hour.
  2. fixing the problem wouldn’t have been unreasonably expensive or difficult (and the landlord had adequate warning of the problem)
  3. the cause of the injury was the failure to repair the dangerous condition
  4. the damage that resulted (the injury) was serious and probable (i.e., foreseeable)
  5. the landlord’s negligence directly caused the injury

If the “slippery stairs” has been there for a long while without any incidences of fall and injury, it is for the tenant to prove that it is “slippery” to have caused the fall. He could have been out from shower and was wet. That might have caused the slip and fall. He cannot simply blame it on the stairs.

If he was running in the stairs, that would have caused the slip and fall. So, it is unfair to the landlord if this claim is been blamed on the stairs.

Tomorrow we continue this case.



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