Results of the 2016 Census indicate that around 30 per cent of Australians live in rented accommodation.
Tenants are forking out more and more on rent as the property market becomes tighter and lease payments higher.
Whether you need or choose to rent does not mean you should tolerate dangerous or hazardous conditions. Many home accidents are preventable and result from negligent acts or omissions.
If you or a family member or friend have been injured due to the negligence of your landlord, you may be entitled to seek compensation by making a public liability claim.
Landlord’s duty of care and liability for injury
Landlords owe a duty of care to their tenants and visitors to the rental property and must ensure the premises is maintained in a safe and habitable condition. This means making regular inspections to identify hazards, checking installations such as gas, electricity and smoke detectors, and checking that pools and fencing are compliant.
A landlord and / or the managing agent may be liable for personal injury suffered by a tenant or visitor if negligence can be shown. For example, in one case, a tenant sustained significant injuries to his hand when he struck and shattered a glass panel of the front door. The landlord and managing agent were found negligent for failing to install safety glass when previously arranging repairs to the door panel.
The Court found that the installation did not comply with the relevant Building Code even though the Code did not apply at the time that the property was built. The tenant was awarded substantial compensation.
Proving negligence for injuries to tenants will depend on the circumstances of each case. Based on recent Court decisions it has been difficult to identify a uniform approach to determining liability. Generally, however, a decision will weigh in a tenant’s favour where the landlord has, or ought to have, knowledge of an apparent defect in the property but fails to rectify it.
If the landlord has no knowledge of the alleged defect then the duty is no more than taking reasonable steps to identify and deal with a risk of injury.
If you know of a hazard in the property you are renting then you should make a written report to the managing agent or owner and keep a record of your complaint. This may become important evidence if you or a family member or friend is later injured because of that hazard.
You should also undertake your own regular inspections to ensure that smoke detectors are working and safety latches to pool fences are functioning. Urgent repairs that pose a risk should be reported immediately to your landlord or managing agent. Any efforts you make to mitigate risk and bring the hazard to the attention of your landlord will hold you in good stead should the unforeseen happen and you or a family member is injured.
If you have suffered an injury at your rental premises and believe that the landlord or managing agent was negligent, our experienced lawyers will advise you on your eligibility to make a claim. Time limits apply and we recommend you seek early legal advice.
What can be compensated?
There are a wide range of compensation payouts and they are different for each claim.
If your claim is successful, you may be entitled to compensation for:
- Pain and suffering
- Past and future loss of earnings
- Past and future medical expenses
- Past and future care you may require as well as any other needs like wheelchairs or home modifications
The best way to know what compensation you may be entitled to is to contact us. We can assess your situation and give you a good indication of what sort of compensation you could receive.
Who pays the public liability compensation?
Generally, the insurance company of the party at fault will pay the compensation. This is called public liability insurance. You do not have to worry about finding the details of the insurance company yourself. We have the resources to find these important details.
Are there any time limits to making a for compensation?
Time limits apply when making a public liability claim and we will need to build as strong a case as possible to help obtain maximum compensation for your loss. Time limits also differ from state to state. We therefore recommend you contact us without delay so we can ensure deadlines aren’t missed.
How much will it cost to make a claim?
We offer a No Win, No Fee* arrangement for public liability claims because we believe anyone with a claim deserves access to legal representation, no matter their financial circumstances.
This means you don’t have to pay our legal fees unless your claim is successful. Legal costs will depend on the amount of work required to resolve your claim.
For more information on our No Win, No Fee* guarantee, contact our expert lawyers for a confidential and obligation-free consultation.