tenant trouble not sure about liability

4 Replies

Tonight I was texted and called by my tenant. his daughter had been visiting the single family rental they live in and fell down the porch stairs and broke her wrist. It was raining and the stairs were damp.  The tenant has said the steps were slippery in the past and each time we have gone and addressed the problem. Tonight I mentioned the tread strips we applied earlier in the year and he said he took them off because they too didn't work and water pools in the steps. there is a railing on the stairs and it is firmly in place (we fixed that earlier last year). Am I liable for this incident? Who do I go to to ask or protect myself.


Hi Susan. Questionable whether you have any liability. If he removed the strips without telling you, that's a plus for you. Nonetheless, if he threatens litigation, I would probably report the incident to your insurance company and let them fight for you. 

My understanding is you are only liable if litigation is brought against you and you are found negligent.  Most rental insurance policies have a liability portion for that very reason, if you are found negligent.  From what you said you took measures to make sure railings were secure and tread strips were installed.  I don't see how you could be found negligent knowing those facts.  I am not an insurance agent or an attorney but you could call your insurance company and they can let you know your coverage and options.

I also carry a personal umbrella insurance policy as added protection just in case.  

@Susan Clark Hi Susan, I'm a licensed insurance agent here in CA. (Lic# 0K68442).  Your rental dwelling policy has an option for medical coverage for instances exactly as this. Reach out to your insurance company and let them know what happened.  You should not be subject to a deductible.  I'm sure you have liability included with your policy as well, but this doesn't appear to be a liability situation.  Should be an easy   situation to deal with. 

Thank you all for your help. I will contact my insurance and pray he doesn’t press the issue. He doesn’t seem like he wants to. He seems genuinely more concerned with a solution to slippery stairs.