A University of South Florida student was abducted and shot in the head three times during a carjacking at her apartment complex. After finding that inadequate security at the complex allowed the criminals to enter the property, the jury awarded her $15.7 million. Nationwide, property owners who fail to provide adequate security are being held accountable and large settlements are increasingly being awarded.
Nine-figure settlements have been awarded in Georgia to several women who were raped in or outside their apartments when the property managers failed their duty of security. According to Georgia law Title 51-3-1 and 51-3-2, owners must exercise ordinary care in keeping their premises and approaches safe. If not, they are liable for damages when people who are there for lawful purposes are injured. Negligence is present when the apartment management is aware, or should be aware, of an increased security risk, but fails to respond. If the property manager should have foreseen the danger, he or she can also be held liable.
RiskVue, the webzine for risk management professionals, recommends these levels of apartment complex security:
- Enhanced security if the complex is in a high-crime area
- Ongoing monitoring of local criminal activity
- Heightened security and warnings to tenants when there is increased criminal activity in the area
- Upgrading of inadequate physical security features including lighting levels, entrances and exits, alarms and other security devices
- Adequate training of employees in the prevention and handling of criminal activity
Management may also be liable for housing criminals and not advising tenants. Failures in any of these areas should be reported immediately, in writing, to your management. Protect yourself by taking care of any security issues on your own premises. A judge recently threw a case out because the intruder came in through a window that was the tenant’s responsibility to repair.
If you have been injured as a result of your property manager’s negligence, let The McGarity Group provide you with legal service and knowledge you can trust. Our highly skilled and successful attorneys deliver solutions to complex and difficult legal matters. We will aggressively pursue a positive outcome for your case.
By J. Michael McGarity | Published May 23, 2013 | Posted in Premises Liability