Was Out-of-Possession Landlord Responsible for Injuries on Building Ramp?
LVT Number: #32195
An individual sued landlord for negligence after he slipped and fell due to a claimed unreasonable accumulation of moss, algae, or other plant growth on an exterior ramp at the apartment building landlord owned. Landlord asked the court to dismiss the case without a trial because he was an out-of-possession landlord who didn't control the property.
The court ruled against landlord, who appealed and lost. An out-of-possession landlord can be held liable for injuries that occur on its premises only if the landlord has retained control over the premises and if the landlord is contractually or statutorily obligated to repair or maintain the premises or has assumed a duty to repair or maintain the premises by virtue of a course of conduct. Landlord admitted in deposition testimony that he, his employees, and his brother would check the building exterior on a daily basis. He also stated that they would perform maintenance tasks to the building exterior. Landlord's own statements created an issue of fact that prevented a ruling without a trial. And documentary evidence submitted by landlord didn't establish that he was wasn't contractually obligated to maintain the ramp.
Cummins v. Middaugh: Case No. 322 CA 21-01082, 2022 NY Slip Op 04453 (App. Div. 4 Dept.; 7/8/22; Centra, JP, Peradotto, Lindley, Curran, Bannister, JJ)