Recent News and Alerts

  • Jul 01, 1996

    Apartment Windows: Look But Don’t Fall

    Article by Kenneth Krems for New England Assisted Housing Management Association publication

    It happens every summer. You pick up the paper or turn on the news and learn that another child has been seriously injured or killed as a result of a fall from an upper story apartment window. Another tragedy that could have been prevented. Another potential major lawsuit against a landlord.

    In a mill town a small boy falls out a window into a neighboring canal. Only the heroic efforts of office workers on the other side of the canal prevented him from drowning. A small girl falls out an upper story window to the pavement below and killed. Do you worry that this could happen someday at your property?

    Generally, if an owner or manager of an apartment building knows that a potentially dangerous situation exists, but does not take reasonable steps to make the premises safe, there can be liability for a future injury. A child falling from a window is such a potentially dangerous event. Because juries know that these types of injuries occur with some frequency, they are delivering large verdicts against landlords who have not taken adequate precautions to insure that these falls will not occur.
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  • Mar 01, 1996

    Flood or Miracle: Which Will Happen Next?

    Article by Kenneth Krems for New England Assisted Housing Management Association publication

    In 1980, as the United States defeated the Soviet Union in hockey at the Lake Placid Olympics, sportscaster Al Michaels exclaimed, "Do you believe in miracles?"

    It seems that some landlords do believe in miracles, at least when it comes to fixing defects in tenants' apartments. Some managers apparently think that the defects will, miraculously, cure themselves, or if not, that the tenants will simply forget that the problems ever existed.

    There are right ways and wrong ways to respond to tenants' complaints. A case decided in Massachusetts Northeast Housing Court in March 1996 illustrates how landlords should not deal with complaints regarding defects in an apartment.
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