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Inadequate Security in Boston Apartments

One of the most basic expectations a person must be able to enjoy in their home is an expectation to be safe within the walls of their own dwelling. While there can never be a 100 percent guarantee of safety at all point in life, landlords and property owners have a responsibility to provide a reasonable degree of safety to their tenants of apartments. If you were victimized by a burglary or other breach of safety while in your Boston apartment, contact the Boston premise liability experts at Altman & Altman LLP today.

The concept is a frighteningly real one. You are alone in your apartment and you hear a sound at the front door. Somebody is trying to break in, and they are not concerned if they have to hurt you to get what they’re looking for. The situation can wind up even more tragic, as many home invasions may also turn into assaults, rape or even kidnappings and murders.

In such cases, property owners and landlords may be liable in a suit against them or a claim for damages, as they have a legal responsibility under premises liability law to provide a reasonably safe environment for their tenants. The important factor in such claims is whether or not the crime could have been reasonable prevented by taking basic security measures.

For example, a landlord would have little legal ground to stand on if they had no lock on an exterior door, allowing entry to anybody who opened the door, or if they did not provide deadbolts for each tenant’s main entry door – which should be able to prevent a majority of breaking and entering crimes.

Larger apartment complexes should have security on staff, as they are dealing with many more people in a given area. If security is negligent and allows a criminal through and that person causes harm or performs a property crime, resulting in tenants being victimized, the security guard, company or landlord could all be held liable for any impending claims.

In some cases, security cameras should be installed in main points of access to deter criminal activity and assist police in investigations should a crime occur. If cameras are found to be deactivated, malfunctioning or not even hooked up, the property owner could be held liable after a crime is committed.

How to prove liability

A plaintiff suing on the basis of negligent security needs to prove that the landlord or property owner failed to exercise a reasonable care or properly notify tenants about the possibility of crime in an area. For example, if a landlord has experienced several break-ins before but does not warn tenants to employ some extra security measures, they may be held liable if the tenant experiences harm due to a subsequent break-in.

This element of foreseeability is crucial, as nobody can predict the future. However, if a property owner has reason to believe an apartment complex may be the target of criminal activity – or it has been targeted in the past – not disseminating this information to prospective or current tenants could result in liability on their behalf if a crime is them committed.

In these types of cases, variables do exist and not every case will be the same. That is why it is important to hire an experienced attorney well versed in premise liability law. At Altman & Altman LLP, we have over 50 years of such experience, and will provide the best possible legal advice on how to proceed with your claim.

Our attorneys live and work in Boston, Cambridge and the surrounding Massachusetts area, so we understand laws regarding apartments as well as any law firm in the country.

Call us for a free consultation to discuss the details of your case today at 617.492.3000 or toll-free at 800.481.6199. We are available 24/7.

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