Could I have a case against my landlord despite the addendum because of the poor condition of the steps? 19 Answers as of April 04, 2013I am a college student renting a house from a landlord. Yesterday morning, I was leaving for class as I always do and I slipped and fell on our steps, which were extremely icy. I am having excruciating back and neck pains. I am going to a doctor tomorrow to document this and see what is wrong exactly. I have been looking at our lease and there is an addendum that states that tenants are responsible for ice and snow removal; however, our steps are made from wood and are in extremely poor condition. I know that the landlord is responsible for maintaining these steps. In the Rights and Duties of Tenants booklet, it states, "Stairs, porches and all other attached features must be kept in sound condition," but they are surely not in sound condition to begin with, despite the fall.
Law Offices of Ronald A. Steinberg & Associates | Ronald A. Steinberg, BA, MA, JD
Ice is NOT a condition OF the stairs. It is a condition that exists ON the stairs. If the stairs are okay, except for ice on them, and if the lease requires the tenants to keep the stairs free of ice, then you cannot sue the landlord.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Peters Law, PLLC | Mark T. Peters, Sr.
But look at what you wrote: the steps were icy. How can you prove in court it was the poor condition of the steps when you admit they were icy and it is your responsibility to clean them off. Yes, you can sue, but you will probably lose.
Answer Applies to: Idaho
Barry Rabovsky & Associates | Barry Rabovsky
We would be happy to provide you with a free consultation if you call my office at either of the numbers listed below. If my office accepts your case, there is no fee charged unless we are able to obtain a settlement for you.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Gregory M Janks, PC | Gregory M Janks
It's best to consult with counsel and sort out the facts/duties. Generally a landlord has no duty to remedy "open & obvious" conditions, which include snow and ice; however, every landlord has a statutory duty to maintain a safe rental premises and when there is a statutory duty, the "o&o" doctrine is usually deemed to not apply. Whether an Addendum to a lease can obviate the landlord's statutory duty is doubtful, but something that would require legal research to determine (at least I don't know the answer off the top of my head). You mention the poor condition of the steps, but I'm not clear on how that either created or worsened the condition which caused your fall, for it would have to to be relevant. In other words, if the poor condition of the steps had nothing to do with your fall, or you ability to remove snow/ice per the lease, then there is no relevance to your situation. Because this is not exactly clear to me, this is why I routinely suggest you consult counsel, so the specific facts/law can be explored to determine your best course of action.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
You have a legal mess on your hands. Normally you cant contract away liability but you agreed to take care of it. How do you answer that? Well, I was out of my mind when I signed. I was drunk when I signed. What do you say. If you have a serious injury see a good lawyer and let him look into everything about the case. Follow his advice.
Answer Applies to: North Carolina
Curry, Roby & Mulvey Co., LLC | Bruce A. Curry
In the event the poor condition of the stops, as opposed to the ice and snow caused your fall, then you may have a potential case against your landlord. However, this will be an uphill battle for you since you obviously knew the condition of the steps, yet voluntarily decided to subject yourself to that risk. You may be able to get around this fact if these steps are the sole access to your home, but otherwise, recovery will be very difficult.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Joel H. Schwartz, P.C. | Steven A. Schwartz
It sounds like you fell because of the ice, not because of the underlying condition of the steps. If you are responsible for snow and ice removal, it doesn't sound like you could make a successful claim against the landlord. If you fell because the steps were broken, and for example, you fell through one as a result, that would be a different story.
Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
David F. Stoddard | David F. Stoddard
I agree that the landlord is responsible for keeping the stairs in sound condition. In my opinion, this does not require keeping them ice free in inclement weather. Rather, it means keeping them from rotting and breaking when you walk on them, keeping the railings from giving way, Keeping them up to code. I think you will have a difficult time establishing liability.
Answer Applies to: South Carolina