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When a Breach of Leasing Contract Turns into a Personal Injury Suit

It’s a horror story for any landlord (not to mention the tenant): waiting too long to take care of a problem in an apartment that leads to something much worse. Take the common examples of a water leak that eventually causes part of a ceiling to cave in and injure a tenant – or failing to abate mold that causes a tenant to develop a respiratory illness. These are just some of the ways a landlord’s breach of a leasing contract can turn into a personal injury lawsuit, as a Chicago IL tenant/landlord attorney can explain.

But you might wonder, how can that be both a breach of a leasing contract AND a personal injury lawsuit? The answer is because many leases contain provisions that require the landlord to maintain the apartment in a certain condition, or to fix defective conditions promptly. Even if the lease does not contain such terms, or there is no written lease whatsoever, nearly every state imposes a duty on landlords to ensure that their property is fit for human habitation (aka – the Implied Warranty of Habitability), and defective conditions like those mentioned above can be considered a violation of that duty.

Consequently, it’s extremely important for landlords to diligently maintain their properties, and take any issues or complaints raised by tenants seriously. Letting a leaky ceiling fester or assuming some mold is non-toxic is practically asking for a tenant to bring a personal injury lawsuit. Obviously, if you’re a landlord faced with this situation, you should contact a local personal injury lawyer immediately, especially if he or she has experience with landlord/tenant matters as well.

Conversely, if you’re a tenant and you’re injured by a condition in your apartment, don’t think your only recourse is in landlord/tenant court for a breach of the leasing contract. Contact a local personal injury attorney as soon as possible for an evaluation of your landlord’s potential liability for your injuries.

But what about when the shoe is on the other foot? Any landlord who has dealt with an aggressive tenant or gone through the eviction process is likely familiar with the fear of things escalating beyond just a dispute over unpaid rent. Amidst the increased tensions of the eviction process, physical altercations between tenant and landlord are fairly common, and such fights can easily spawn assault or battery lawsuits.

As a result, both landlords and tenants would be well-advised to let cooler heads prevail or simply to avoid each other as much as possible when going through an eviction case. But if either one finds his/her self the victim of an assault or battery, contact a local personal injury attorney for a full case evaluation. Breaches of leasing contracts spawn personal injury lawsuits more often than people think, adding another minefield for landlords and tenants to navigate in the rental arena.