Property owners in Georgia must maintain a safe premise for those who are “invitees” on their property (Georgia Code § 51-3-1). This includes making sure certain safety standards are in place to protect those who legally enter onto their property. Georgia law also addresses the duties of property owners who own and rent land in the state.
If you were injured as a result of owner or occupier negligence, you may have grounds to seek compensation for your damages. With a personal injury claim and an experienced attorney, you can hold these parties liable.
Safety Standards Property Owners Must Follow in Georgia
The safety responsibilities of a property owner often depend on their role in the maintenance of the property. For example, landlords are required to keep their rental properties in livable conditions under Georgia law. That includes:
- Keeping the premises in repair and being liable for “all substantial improvements” (Georgia Code § 44-7-13)
- Holding responsibility for damages caused by defective construction or failure to keep the premises in repair (Georgia Code § 44-7-14)
Implied Warranty of Habitability
Landlords’ duty to keep their rental premises livable falls under the legal doctrine of implied warranty of habitability. Under this rule, landlords must maintain vital repairs like fixing broken air conditioners or water heaters. The tenants’ duty to pay rent to the landlord is often conditioned on whether or not the landlord upholds their duty.
The warranty of habitability is meant to require certain safety standards from the property owner so that the health and safety of each tenant are protected. The landlord must maintain and repair the following elements on their property:
- The structural soundness of floors, walls, stairs, or other structural elements that could not be reasonably handled by a tenant
- Common areas like elevators, indoor and outdoor common areas, hallways, and stairwells
- Utilities like plumbing, electricity, air conditioning/heating, and sanitation
Landlords must also maintain extermination services and test for environmental hazards like asbestos and radon on their property. If environmental hazards are known or found through testing, the landlord must eliminate them under the safety standards for their property.
Depending on where in Georgia the property exists, landlords may have additional property laws or housing codes to follow in their city, town, or county. If you believe your landlord is being negligent in their property duties, especially if you have been injured or become ill as a result, a Georgia premises liability lawyer can look into the state and local laws to determine the facts.
John Foy & Associates would love to give you a FREE, no-risk consultation to discuss the details of your case and how we can help. Call us today at (404) 400-4000 or contact us online to get started.
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Safety Standards Property Owners Must Have in Place
Although some safety requirements are dictated by local laws, all landlords in Georgia have a duty to:
- Repair and maintain the property, fix issues that are reported, and warn visitors, customers, and tenants of the presence of hazards
- Have security systems in place to provide reasonable protection against criminal activity
- Stay aware of suspicious activity on the property
- Carrying adequate liability insurance
- Testing for potential environmental hazards on the property
Landlords must also accommodate disabled individuals on their property and screen tenant applicants.
If a property owner did not follow a safety standard that could have prevented an injury accident on their property, they may be legally responsible for the damages. If you were hurt on someone’s property, contact a premises liability attorney to discuss your options.
“In Possession” Versus “Out of Possession” Safety Standards
The safety standards a landlord must follow also depend on whether they are “in possession” or “out of possession”:
- If a landlord is “out of possession,” they have fully parted from the possession of the property, meaning they don’t occupy it or have daily control over it.
- When a landlord is “in possession,” they typically maintain control of the property and might even occupy it.
“Out of Possession” Safety Standards
Landlords who are “out of possession” or “absentee” are only liable for damages caused by failing to keep the premises in repair or defective construction.
For the “out of possession” landlord to be liable for defective construction, it must usually be work that they did themselves, had knowledge of, or supervised the construction while knowing that it did not meet safety standards. However, if the construction was already present when the landlord bought the property and they did not know about any defects, they might not be liable.
Landlords or property owners who know about a dangerous condition on their property, such as a broken step, must fix it or provide warnings to tenants or visitors within a reasonable amount of time. If they do not uphold this safety standard and someone gets hurt, they can be liable.
“In Possession” Safety Standards
Landlords who are “in possession” typically have a stricter duty of care than “out of possession” landlords. In possession landlords or property owners are usually liable for any damages caused by their failure to “exercise ordinary care” so that their premises are safe.
All property owners must have practices in place that include regularly checking for potential hazards, fixing hazards within a reasonable amount of time, and warning tenants or customers of hazards if they can’t be remedied right away. The way these practices look can vary depending on the property owner, the property, and the types of hazards they tend to deal with.
Injured Visitors and Tenants Have the Right To Legal Recourse
If you’ve been injured as a result of a property owner or manager’s negligence, you have the legal right to seek compensation for your injuries. In order to build a strong and successful premises liability claim, you will need to make note of the following:
- There was a dangerous or defective condition on the premise
- The owner or other liable party knew or should have known about the dangerous condition or created the condition themselves
- The liable party failed to correct the dangerous condition or provide a reasonable warning.
- This failure directly caused your injuries
A personal injury lawyer can protect your rights, however, you can also take some actions following the accident to strengthen your claim. This includes:
- Calling the police
- Recording the names of any witnesses and their contact information
- Taking photographs of your injuries
- Getting immediate medical attention
- Following up with all medical providers to get the treatment you need
- Not posting on social media
- Refraining from giving a statement to any investigator, attorney, or insurance company from the at-fault party
How a Georgia Premises Liability Lawyer Can Help
A premises liability lawyer will review your case to prove negligence and determine if you have a viable claim for damages. When you hire an experienced personal injury legal team, they can:
- Collect evidence, such as photographs or video footage from the accident scene
- Review the police report
- Total the monetary value of your damages
- Make sure your case is filed within the state’s statute of limitations
- Review all pertinent medical records to show the full extent of your injuries
In addition, your attorney may work alongside medical experts who may be used to explain to the jury how the premises liability accident caused your medical injuries. The medical expert can also explain any future medical care that you may require because of the accident.
Talk to a Georgia Premises Liability Lawyer for Free Today
Property owners and landlords must follow safety standards that protect their visitors, customers, or tenants from harm. If you were hurt on someone else’s property, it may be because the property owner was not diligent enough. At John Foy & Associates, we can help you seek compensation for your damages.
Contact us today for a FREE case evaluation. Call (404) 400-4000 or contact us online to get started.