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Landlord Liability and Violations of the Building Code

November 30th, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

In a recent post, I discussed the foolishness of owners who don’t fix their rental property and end up facing civil liability judgments that could have been avoided if they had just followed the fire code.  The family of a victim of a porch collapse just reached a settlement for $2.7 million dollars in Chicago.  http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/2931482,CST-NWS-porch1130.article The victim was trying to adjust a chair on the porch when he fell through the rails.  The Sun-Times reported that:

Through evidence discovery and motions, it was learned that almost six months prior to the incident, KMC’s liability insurance carrier warned the company that the large railing gap — 2 feet by 8 feet — should be covered with wire mesh, a release from attorneys said.

By the time of the tragedy, the repairs had not been made.  The public doesn’t really understand how code enforcement saves lives and reduces costs to owners.  A case like this demonstrates its importance.

  1. December 7th, 2010 at 10:04 | #1

    As a rental housing inspector in Minnesota, I am frequently at odds when addressing codes in existing older homes. especially when it comes to egress windows in sleeping rooms and similar issues – the Building Code and the Fire Code in Minnesota differ somewhat in how to address current building or existing older building stock and a case went to the State Supreme Court (City of Morris v. Sax) addressing that cities could not make more restrictive ordinances than the State Code. This issue does get discussed at meetings across the state. My main concern is to try and ensure the property provides a safe place to live and try to eliminate any hazards that the property owner could get nailed for in the event of loss.

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