Liability of Commercial Property Landlords to Tenants

Mark Lichtenstein Mark Lichtenstein

In March of 2011, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court entered a decision clarifying and establishing new law concerning the obligation and liability of a landlord/owner of commercial property for personal injuries sustained by tenants and visitors.

The court held that under a relevant Massachusetts statute, once a landlord receives proper notice from a tenant, the landlord owes a duty to remedy any unsafe conditions not caused by the tenant. Where the landlord fails to correct the conditions and injuries result therefrom, the landlord could be held liable. Where the lease imposes on the tenant a duty to repair, the tenant is unlikely to provide the notice and is more likely to repair the condition.  Where a tenant with such a duty to repair nevertheless gives the notice and the landlord remedies the unsafe condition, the landlord may bill the tenant for the cost of repair, or if provided in the lease, charge the cost of repair as additional rent.

For more information, read: Liability of Landlords to Tenants/Visitors in Commercial Property