Landlord/property owner security responsibilities in Florida vary depending on the situation. Property owners owe a certain duty of care to everyone who enters their property, but the standard is much lower for those who enter property illegally than for those invited onto the property.
Moreover, an owner’s security responsibilities are contingent on the foreseeability of criminal activity on the property, which can vary based on how the property is used. When landlords and property owners fail to fulfill their security responsibilities and people suffer harm as a result, injured parties may be entitled to recover compensation based on negligent security with an attorney’s help.
Steps a Property Owner May Be Required to Take
If criminal activity on someone’s property is considered foreseeable, the owner of the property may be required to take certain steps to protect people they invite onto their property. Failure to do so may be considered evidence of negligence that could serve as grounds for a civil suit.
Adequate lighting is a common security-related requirement of responsible property owners, as the cover of darkness may allow or even encourage people to perpetrate criminal acts and get away without being caught. The responsibility to provide proper lighting may include lighting in parking lots, hallways, sidewalks, and staircases.
Measures to restrict entry are also commonly required as part of a responsible property owner’s security preparation. Locks should be in working order, and broken windows should be repaired.
Doors should also be installed so that the hinges are not exposed or so that hinge pins cannot be removed. In some circumstances, a property owner may be expected to provide security fencing around a parking lot to restrict entry to specific points which can be monitored.
In Florida, landlord/property owner security responsibilities also often include the installation of security equipment such as cameras or the use of security guards. Guards should be properly trained to fulfill their duties, and landlords should ensure that security equipment is working correctly.
Security Responsibilities Depend on Criminal History
The history of criminal activity on a particular property or in the vicinity plays a key role in determining the security responsibilities of landlords and property owners in Florida, because a history of prior crimes in an area makes future crimes more foreseeable. Should a property owner foresee criminal activity occurring in this way, they may have a duty to take specific actions to protect people from criminal activity on their property.
Courts may look both at the type of criminal activity and the proximity of the activity to determine whether an incident is foreseeable. For instance, if a store had a history of non-violent thefts such as shoplifting, it may not be foreseeable that someone could suffer a sexual assault in the parking lot.
However, if similar assaults occurred at the property next door, that might make such an incident foreseeable. A knowledgeable Florida attorney can present evidence and argue to show that criminal activity experienced in a particular case was foreseeable based on the history of the area.
Get Assistance with Landlord/Property Owner Security Responsibilities in Florida
Landlords and other property owners need to be aware of the duties they owe to their tenants and guests invited onto the property. Ignorance of criminal activity in the area should not insulate a property owner from liability for failing to provide adequate protection. Those who are uncertain about landlord/property owner security responsibilities in Florida are advised to consult an experienced attorney.