Could you Owner be Sued in a Negligent Security Case?
Has your apartment community experience crime in the last few years? Apartment break-ins, vandalism, car theft, sexual assault, and other forms of violence at an apartment community are serious crimes and if a pattern of crime becomes evident, your owner’s chance of getting hit by a Negligent Security case, or a Premise Liability case go up dramatically.
In a Negligent Security case, a property owner will be sued if a resident is hurt and in the eyes of the court, the owner had awareness of a series of crimes being committed and did not take reasonable steps to deter criminals from committing future crimes. It does not require a crime spree to be considered a pattern of events either, with some cases involving as few as 3 break-ins over a two year period.
Does your apartment community fit this bill? Are your owners covering their bases to reduce their liability and risk? One thing to consider when it comes to protecting your apartment owner from legal action is that general the court system weighs the magnitude of crime in determining the level of security measures the property owner reasonably should have taken. If your community has had a handful of incidents over the past few years, some security cameras and mobile panic buttons are an appropriate response. On the flip side, if your apartment community has dealt with multiple break-ins, car theft, or a sexual assault on a resident or staff member, the courts expect every stop to be pulled to prevent crime, ie., personal safety devices, leasing office cameras, outdoor security cameras, in-unit alarm system optional upgrades, and security guards. Aside from security guards, most solutions are inexpensive and a judge will not be sympathetic to an owner who chooses to save money over reducing crime at their apartment building.
If this sounds like your apartment community, talk to your owner about putting security measures in place immediately. They will prefer paying a small amount to make their asset safer and more valuable rather than face the financial hit of a Negligent Security or Premise Liability lawsuit and the aftermath hit on resident retention.
Crime can destroy an assets value, make sure your owner is protected today!