Oregon Residential Landlord Tenant Act
When you are renting a property, the landlord from whom you are renting has a duty to maintain the property in certain conditions, and to ensure that your rights as a tenant are satisfied. According to the Oregon Residential Landlord Tenant Act, landlords are obligated by law to keep their properties safe and running in good order for their tenants. Some of these obligations are:
- The building structure being safe for usual use
- Floors, walls, stairways, railings are maintained in good repair
- Electrical wiring being in good working order and up to code
Of course, the failure to maintain these basic obligations, and others, could lead to serious injuries in some cases. For example, if a building structure is unsound, it could lead to falling objects, cave-ins and roof collapses, and other serious accidents. When the floors, walls, stairways, and railings are not maintained in good condition, the risk of a slip and fall exists. Similarly, if electrical wiring isn’t up to code and isn’t maintained in working order, a tenant could suffer from a lack of electricity or, worse, an electrocution injury. And this is just a handful of the potential injury types that exist when properties are not well-maintained. When a resident is injured due to improper care of the property by the landlord, the landlord may be held liable for the medical bills or other damages incurred.
What to Do if You've Been Injured as a Tenant
- Preserving the Evidence. If you or a loved one has been injured as a resident of a rental, it is important that you act quickly and record the evidence of the incident as soon as possible. If a landlord is aware of your injury, they could fix or cover up the suspected negligence and make it seem that they are not at fault. Providing evidence is one of the most crucial parts of landlord tenant cases in the state of Oregon. As soon as you are able to after the accident, our lawyers recommend taking pictures of the defect and your injuries, making copies of any notices that you’ve provided to the landlord about the defect, and writing down the names and statements of others who may be able to testify to the defect. If you call an attorney, an attorney can open an investigation into your case immediately.
- Seeking medical care. After you are injured in an accident within the home you are renting, it’s important that you seek medical care. Seeking medical care creates a connection between the defect, your accident, and your injuries – something that will be essential when you are filing your case.
- Call an injury attorney. An injury attorney who is well-versed in personal injury and landlord-tenant law will be able to build your case, advise you of what steps to take next, and represent you throughout the claims process. It’s important to reach out to an attorney quickly as 1). you want evidence related to your claim to be collected and preserved as quickly as possible and 2). the clock on the statute of limitations, the legal limit on the amount of time you have to file a claim, starts ticking at the time of your injury. The statute of limitations for personal injury claims in Oregon is two years.
Types of Tenant Injury Cases
Johnston Law Firm will fight for you when you have been physically injured due to:
- Uneven Surfaces. When walking surfaces are uneven, the risk of a slip and fall exists. Your landlord has a duty to repair uneven surfaces in order to mitigate this risk when they are aware that they exist. If you don’t know if your landlord is aware of hazards on the property, be sure to contact them in writing (or email) to report hazards.
- Poor Lighting. Poor lighting within a building or on the grounds of a property can be dangerous for a number of reasons. First, and most obviously, when lighting is poor and people cannot see as well, they are at risk of running into or tripping over objects, which could lead to serious injuries in some cases. What’s more, though, is that poor lighting can also be a security issue, especially in certain neighborhoods. If there is a history of crime where you live, a lack of proper lighting is a type of negligent security issue on the part of the landlord.
- Loose electrical wiring that may cause burning. If electrical wiring is loose, it may affect the lights and other electrical appliances within a person’s home. It could also lead to electrocution injuries, one of the most serious injury types. Electrical wires could also lead to home fires, putting everyone within a home/building at risk of burn injuries, smoke inhalation injuries, property damage losses, and fatal injuries in some cases.
- Wood Rot / Cracked Surfaces unsuited for use. Like uneven surfaces, wood rot and cracked surfaces could result in slip and fall injuries, as well as falling-through accidents and injuries in severe cases.
- Negligent security cases. As mentioned above, a landlord has a duty to prove a reasonable level of security. What’s “reasonable” likely depends on where the building/home/property is located and whether or not there is a history of crime in that area or directly against people living there. As such, what’s deemed “reasonable” could be anything from proper lighting to security cameras to locked doors to the physical presence of a security guard and more. When reasonable security is not put in place, tenants could be at risk of crime, including burglary, assault, sexual assault, and rape.
- Falling objects. Sometimes, properties are maintained in such disrepair that there is a risk of falling objects, such as ceiling cave-ins, loose ceiling appliances (such as light fixtures), debris falling from the roof, gutters becoming loose and falling off, and more.
- Snow and ice removal. If snow and ice accumulate on a property, they can create the risk of a slip and fall accident. Depending on what is stipulated in your rental contract, it may be the duty of the landlord to remove snow and ice in a timely manner.
The above list is not inclusive. If you have been injured due to a hazard on a property where you’re renting and you believe that the hazard could have and should have been remedied by your landlord, you may have a case.
If you can prove that the landlord breached the duty of care owed to you and that this was the proximate cause of your injuries, you can seek compensation for the full value of losses you’ve suffered, including compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, personal property damage, pain, suffering, and emotional distress. Our lawyers will help you by investigating your case, proving fault and liability, calculating your damages, representing you in settlement negotiations, and more. Call our law firm directly today to learn more.
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