Recent statistics suggest that about one in eight individuals in the United States currently lives in an apartment complex. These numbers reflect a rising demand for rental units across the country.
Unfortunately, statistics also reflect that crime is more likely in multifamily housing complexes with three or more units. If you’ve recently been impacted by a crime in an apartment complex, then it’s important to consider your legal options for financial recovery. While the apartment complex owner can’t be expected to prevent all crime, they still have an obligation under the law to take reasonable steps to ensure your safety.
If your landlord didn’t have adequate security in place, then you might be the victim of apartment negligent security. If that’s the case, then it’s possible to file a legal claim for financial compensation to cover your losses. Learn more below.
Are You the Victim of Apartment Negligent Security?
Before you identify yourself as a victim of apartment negligent security, you need to think about the circumstances of what happened, the actions your landlord took before the security lapse, and the overall losses you’re facing. Not every criminal incident that occurs at an apartment complex will give rise to an apartment negligent security claim.
Apartment negligent security claims arise when your landlord fails to uphold their duty to provide for the care and safety of residents, guests, and other individuals that are traversing through the property. Typically, a nefarious actor witnesses the lack of security on a premises before taking advantage of the situation and committing a crime. Often, the person who gets harmed by that criminal act is a tenant.
Since apartment complex owners have a legal duty to provide for your safety and care, you have the basis to seek out a legal claim if you get harmed and suffer financial losses as a result.
What is Your Landlord Responsible For?
You might wonder – what is your landlord responsible for when it comes to providing for your care? Under premises liability laws, apartment complex owners are legally obligated to take reasonable steps to ensure the safety and security of their residents.
Your landlord cannot stop every criminal act on their premises, though, and they can’t be held to an unreasonably high standard.
With that in mind, your landlord is only responsible for taking reasonable steps to ensure the safety of tenants. What is considered “reasonable” often varies from case to case based on a variety of factors.
What Protections Are You Entitled To?
For that reason, the protections you’re entitled to greatly depend on what would be considered reasonable protections based on the circumstances surrounding the crime. In general, tenants are entitled to adequate security measures that would deter crime in general. Below, we’ll go over a few ways that an apartment complex can improve security, but in general, adequate security measures should include specific things that protect residents like adequate lighting.
How to Prove Negligent Security in Your Apartment Complex
Do you think that you were the victim of apartment negligent security after experiencing a recent crime at your complex? If so, then you might be considering seeking out a legal claim. If that’s the case, then you also need to keep in mind that you bear the burden of proving all your negligent security claims. For your claim to be successful, you’ll need to prove all the following elements existed in your case:
- The apartment complex owner had a legal duty to provide for your safety
- The apartment complex owner failed to uphold this duty of care
- This breach in the owner’s duty of care directly caused or contributed to the criminal attack
- The incident resulted in damages
The first element you’ll need to prove is straight forward. Under the law, every apartment complex owner has a duty to provide for the safety of residents and guests on their property. Proving the last three elements, however, can be very challenging. It’s often best to discuss your situation with a lawyer to learn more about how to prove these elements in your claim.
Was the Crime Foreseeable?
One way to prove that your attack and losses were the result of negligent security is to show that the criminal offense was foreseeable enough for the apartment complex owner to act. To consider whether the crime was foreseeable, you’ll want to factor in the crime rates in the general area, whether crimes have occurred on the apartment complex property before, and whether the area was attractive or conducive to criminal activity. If a reasonable person would assume that crime was foreseeable, then it’s assumed that the apartment complex owner should’ve reasonably foreseen the crime, too, and taken steps to prevent it.
Were Reasonable Security Measures in Place?
Another way to prove that your claim is the result of negligent security is to show that reasonable security measures were not in place at the complex. Not every apartment complex is held to the same safety standards, but there are some specific security measures that should always be taken to ensure the safety of residents and guests.
For instance, all apartment units should have operable doors and locks. Hallways, parking lots, or other general community areas should be well lit and monitored. If there are common areas, like washing machine rooms, then you may need to add some level of security, like cameras, in those rooms.
How Can an Apartment Complex Improve Security and Keep Tenants Safer?
There are several ways that an apartment complex owner can improve their security measures and keep tenants safer when crime is either foreseeable or has already happened in the past. Here are a few examples of reasonable security measures:
One of the top ways to improve safety in common areas is to install appropriate lighting. This type of safety feature should be installed outside in parking areas, in hallways, and in any common rooms that are visited at night. It’s never reasonable to leave a public common area dark because that will make it less safe for everyone. Criminals often want to operate in the cloak of darkness, so appropriate lighting is an efficient deterrent.
Operable security cameras are another way to help ensure the safety of tenants and guests. Security cameras work to not only deter crime but also solve crimes that have already happened. If a crime does occur and security cameras were in place, then the footage can serve as valuable evidence to help catch the perpetrator and prevent future repeated criminal acts.
Security cameras can also be used to help monitor large apartment complex areas that require higher levels of surveillance.
Sometimes, apartment complex owners might feel it’s reasonable to hire security guards to monitor units at certain times. For instance, if an apartment complex with a majority of college-aged residents gets repeatedly robbed during holiday seasons, then it might be necessary to start hiring security for the few days or weeks that students are usually on vacation. This would help deter future burglary attempts and keep everyone safer.
If an apartment complex manager knows about an unsafe condition, then they should consider posting warning signs in the area regarding the situation. For instance, if there have been multiple car break-ins at an apartment complex, then the manager could put warning signs up asking residents to lock their vehicles at night. Owners could also put up signs warning potential criminals that the whole premises is under video surveillance to deter future attempts.
What Should I Do if I Have Been Victimized?
Now that you understand more about these types of claims, do you still think you were the victim of apartment negligent security in your recent criminal attack? If so, then there are a few steps you should take to ensure that your legal rights get upheld as you seek out compensation for your losses. Here’s what to do:
Evaluate Your Losses
First, step back and evaluate the losses you’ve endured as a result of the criminal attack. This step is crucial, so take your time when considering everything that’s happened. Your losses might include things like medical bills as a result of your injuries, wages you’ve missed out on due to missing work, property damage after a robbery, losses in the form of pain and suffering, and more. If possible, then you’ll also want to quantify your losses to determine the overall value of how much you’ve lost. When your losses aren’t that serious, it might not be worth your time to file a claim. When your losses are stacking up, though, seeking out a claim is often in your best interests.
Consult With an Attorney
If you’ve made the decision that seeking out a claim makes sense in your situation, then your next step should be to consult with an attorney for greater guidance. A quality attorney will help you better understand your legal rights, options, and duties moving forward. They’ll help you make an informed decision about pursuing a claim, and they’ll be able to help you if you do seek out a case. From filing the right paperwork to negotiating with the other party, your attorney’s assistance will prove invaluable as you seek out justice.
Contact Singleton Law Firm Negligent Security Attorneys
When you believe you may be the victim of apartment negligent security and your financial losses are stacking up, it makes the most sense to consult with an Atlanta negligent security attorney about your legal options. The right attorney will help you better understand the situation you’re facing and whether seeking out a legal claim is worth your time and effort.
Here at Singleton Law Firm, our lawyers have extensive experience helping clients get the financial compensation they need to recover from criminal incidents at apartment complexes. If you’re ready to get started, then schedule a free consultation with our office now.
Are you still not sure? You can always contact our negligent security lawyer in Sandy Springs to get an estimate for your case.