Code Violations that lead to Premises Liability Claims
With an ongoing housing shortage in California, many people turn to renting their vacation home or part of their primary home to help alleviate it and to earn added income. At Brockmeier Law Group, we applaud your efforts and want you to succeed. We can help with that by letting you know about the legal dangers of becoming a landlord and how best to protect your budding business and personal finances.
Before you rent out your home, check it for code violations. By doing this yourself, you avoid getting into trouble. As soon as you find a code violation, fix it. This protects you from financial loss if an incident occurs that spawned from the code violation. For example, let’s say you remodeled your home in 2018 but failed to update your electrical outlets. A fire occurs in 2022 that spawns from an outdated electrical outlet. Your homeowners’ insurance won’t pay the claim since your own negligence caused the fire. Let’s say that you began renting the home in 2020 and renters occupy it. They incur injuries in the fire. Your homeowners’ insurance probably won’t pay that claim either, which means the renters will sue you.
Code Violations That Lead to Premises Liability Claims
Any code violation that you could have addressed because you knew of it becomes a code violation that a renter could use in a premises liability claim. Any type of code violation could lead to an accident. Therefore, it could lead to a premises liability claim. The electrical outlets only comprise one example. Building codes exist to ensure that every structure built meets or exceeds a minimum safety level. It is against the law to willfully violate a building code.
What types of building code violations lead to accidents?
While many types of code violations can result in accidents, some cause problems more often than others. The five most common code violations include:
- Electrical outlets without GFCI,
- Improper deck flashing,
- Improper bathroom venting/ventilation,
- Handrails missing wall returns,
- Misplaced or mis-installed smoke detectors/fire alarms.
If you’re a home resident who incurred an injury due to a code violation, document the violation and your injury. You’ll need to show evidence that the violation caused your injury. For example, if improper deck flashing caused the deck you stood on to collapse, you need to photograph the deck flashing, the collapsed deck, your injuries after medical treatment and include your medical records from your emergency room or doctor’s visit. You provide all of this to your Orange County personal injury attorney for use in building your case.
Here’s the caveat. It is not a code violation if the homeowner purchased the home in 2020 and rented it as is, but the city had updated the code in 2017.
It is only a code violation in the law changed first or was already established, and
- then the homeowner built the home without following the already established law, or
- the homeowner bought and renovated the home but ignored the current code.
If they bought the home and renovated it and the state or locality updated its code six months after the renovation, that is not a code violation.
The homeowner/landlord is responsible for the injuries occurring as a result of a code violation. Every case differs, so our law office cannot ballpark the amount of compensation you could potentially get for your injuries. We can tell you that in cases of code violations that caused injury, the negligent party typically must pay the injured party’s medical costs, rehabilitative costs, and sometimes a settlement for pain and suffering.
Contact Brockmeier Law Group today and find out how our Orange County premises liability attorneys can help you. Let an Orange County premises liability claims attorney from our office help you navigate the legal questions of negligence and help you receive the settlement due to you.
Give Brockmeier Law Group a call at 310-425-3431.