Can we sue for theft caused by faulty gate lock in apartment complex parking space? 3 Answers as of August 22, 2013

My wife and I were set to move out of or apartment complex. We began to pack everything in boxes, and wanted to make it as easy as we could for us and her family on moving day. We started to move our packed boxes to our locked, gated parking space which faces the alley where we were going to park the moving trailer. We covered the boxes with a couple of tarps. The second or third day after was started to move our boxes there, we found that someone had broken in broad daylight (sometime between noon and 4pm) and taken some boxes and storage bins. We called the police, and while the cop was there we realized that it is trivial to open the locked gate by standing on it and pulling. We had to move everything back into the apartment and moved out a few days later. At first, we thought the robbers only stole about $200 worth of trivial possessions, but as we were unpacking we realized that they had stolen a box of my wife's jewelry which has a few hundred dollars more real value but also a lot of sentimental value. Can we sue the apartment owners for failing to provide a truly secure area? Note: We lived in the apartment for a year, halfway through which it was purchased by these owners and there was a change of management.

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Stuart P Gelberg
Stuart P Gelberg | Stuart P Gelberg
Yes if your landlord had notice of the faulty condition and failed to fix it promptly.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 8/22/2013
Peters Law, PLLC
Peters Law, PLLC | Mark T. Peters, Sr.
It is not the landlord's fault. You put the boxes out where thieves could see them.
Answer Applies to: Idaho
Replied: 8/20/2013
Harper Law Offices, Inc. P.S.
Harper Law Offices, Inc. P.S. | Joseph T. G. Harper
Typically not. You will want to review your lease agreement, which often include provision stating that landlord is not responsible for your personal property stored on the premises unless the landlord causes the loss. Unless the landlord/management company or their employees were the ones who stole your property, they will probably not be liable. If you have renters insurance, you may want to review your policy and submit a claim.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 8/20/2013
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