What Responsibility Does A Landowner Have For Keeping You Safe?

October 16, 2015 | Category: Inadequate Security | Share

"When a landowner is negligent in providing a safe environment, and someone is hurt as the result of that negligence, there is the potential for a personal injury case," said Florida Inadequate Security Attorney, Randall Spivey of Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A.

According to an August 14, 2015 article in the New York Times, questions regarding the safety of Airbnb, the online lodging rental website, arose after a U.S. teen accused a Madrid, Spain apartment host of sexual assault. Even though this was in Spain, it brings to mind another case that happened in South Florida.

In July 2015 a lawsuit claimed that an owner of South Florida rental properties hired as his property manager a convicted sex offender who targeted the boys of families who were tenants. The lawsuit claims the owner of the building knew the property manager was a convicted sex offender because he had asked the court to modify the offender's probation to allow him to use the internet. This lawsuit is still pending.

In Florida, can a landowner be held accountable for personal injuries caused by the intentional (or criminal) acts of third parties or employees?

Apartments, Houses & Condominiums

According to the Florida Bar, Florida laws provide tenants with legal protection against becoming crime victims by placing upon landlords a duty to provide homes and common areas with safe conditions. If the landlord fails in this duty and the tenant is hurt during the commission of a crime, then the landlord may be responsible for monetary damages to that tenant under Florida negligent security law. A person becomes a tenant governed by Florida law when that person pays rent to live in a house, apartment, condominium or mobile home. The frequency of rental payments does not matter. It also does not matter  whether the apartment, house, condominium or mobile home is rented from a private person, a corporation or most governmental units, they are responsible.  Even if there is no written lease agreement, the Florida law prevails.

Hotels & Motels

Florida law also imposes on hotels, motels and innkeepers etc. the duty to keep their buildings and premises in a condition reasonably safe for use by their guests. This duty is a "non-delegable duty to guests to provide a reasonably safe premises, including reasonable protection against third party criminal attacks." In U.S. Security Services Corp. v. Ramada Inn, 665 So. 2nd 268 (Fla. 3d DCA 1996), a landowner can contract out the performance of a non-delegable duty, such as security, but the landowner is still ultimately legally responsible.

According to Law Digest - U.S. Legal.com, when a criminal act is conducted by a person or guest while staying at, or visiting, a hotel or motel, the hotel/motel may be liable for the personal injury of guests caused by the criminal act. In order for the hotel/motel to be found negligent or at fault, it has to be established that the act was "foreseeable". In assessing potential fault of the hotel, several factors may be considered:

  • Was the injury or harm reasonably preventable?
  • Who was in charge of security?
  • Were security personnel properly trained?
  • Is there a past history of crime at the hotel?
  • Were assessments of security risks ever established for the hotel?
  • Were security personnel uniformed?
  • Were there an adequate number of security persons on hand to handle routine matters as well as potential emergencies or crises?

 "As you can see, these cases are complicated and require the services of an experienced attorney," said Attorney Randall Spivey.


Florida Inadequate Security Attorney, Randall L. Spivey is a Board Certified Trial Attorney – the highest recognition for competence bestowed by the Florida Bar and a distinction earned by just one (1%) percent of Florida attorneys.  He has handled over 2,000 personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout Florida.  For a free and confidential consultation to discuss your legal rights, contact the Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A., in Lee County at 239.337.7483 or toll free at 1.888.477.4839,or by email to Randall@SpiveyLaw.com.  Visit SpiveyLaw.com for more information.  You can contact Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A.in Charlotte County at 941.764.7748 and in Collier County 239.793.7748.


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