Article by Kenneth Krems for New England Assisted Housing Management Association publication
With crime occurring all around housing developments, landlords today must be concerned with security issues. Providing safe and secure housing for tenants should be a top priority.
In 1994 the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court stated that while residential landlords are not guarantors of the safety of their tenants, they do have a duty to protect tenants from foreseeable risks of harm from intruders. Moreover, landlords should be in compliance with the state sanitary code and building code with respect to security issues. Two cases decided at the trial court level in 1995 deal with these issues. In one, the landlord was held to have no liability; in the other, the landlord was found to be grossly negligent.
The first case was decided by the judge of the Hampden Housing Court. A tenant of a six-unit apartment building in Springfield was abducted form the building's parking lot one evening and assaulted. The tenant sued the landlord, claiming that the amount of lighting in the parking lot was insufficient to deter criminals.
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