Request Your Free Consultation
Get Started Right Away! Schedule your first consultation with the firm now.
  • Please enter your name.
  • This isn't a valid email address.
    Please enter your email address.
  • This isn't a valid phone number.
    Please enter your phone number.
    You entered an invalid number.
  • Please select an option.
  • Please enter a message.
    • The submission of this website form does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Unless a formal relationship has been established in writing, the information presented throughout this site, and any response to this web inquiry, either verbal or in writing, should be considered for informational purposes only, and any information provided to the firm should not be viewed as privileged or confidential.

Negligent Security

Lawyers for Apartment Complex Crime Victims in Dallas

You May Be Able to Sue Your Apartment Complex for Crimes Committed on the Premises

Rent isn’t cheap, and in return for your monthly check, your landlord owes you certain things: A private living space that is habitable, certain security features, and a promise to not evict you without cause. Another thing they owe you is safety within the complex. Just as someone’s home might have a fence or security cameras around the whole property—not just the indoor living spaces—a property owner must offer you a guarantee against unreasonable danger, whether you’re in the parking lot or your living room. This means they must promptly remove hazards and take preventative measures against expected dangers. In some cases, that includes the expectation of criminal conduct.

When Are Property Owners Liable for Third-Party Crime?

Discounting for the moment that premises liability does not always reside strictly with the property owner, let us use them as a stand-in as we explore the facets of liability on business properties. When it comes to third-party crime, it may be difficult to see a property owner’s direct connection. After all, if the criminal is not someone they either hired or rented to, can they really be blamed? Depending on the circumstances surrounding the crime, the answer could be yes.

Landowners Can’t Be Held Liable for Others’ Behavior, Per Se

Expecting to live in a safe complex is rather like expecting to live in a safe neighborhood: You can choose a location that’s known for having a lower rate of criminality, but that doesn’t guarantee freedom from illegal behaviors. When evaluating a property owner’s duty to prevent crime, the law considers whether they can reasonably assume a property is “safe,” or whether they should expect a certain type of criminal activity, and therefore either warn or protect tenants against it.

In asking whether a property owner should presume a probability of (and risk from) illegal activity, the law considers:

  • Crime rate on nearby properties
  • Recency of nearby criminal activity
  • Frequency of nearby criminal activity
  • Similarity between prior crimes and the crime in their complex
  • Whether the property owner could reasonably be expected to know about prior crimes based on how they were reported

In short, the court considers “proximity, recency, frequency, similarity, and publicity” to determine whether it’s reasonable to suggest a property owner should provide protection to any visitors.

How Far Does a Property Owner’s Responsibility Stretch?

As a tenant or visitor to an apartment complex, how much of a claim might you have if you’re injured by criminal activity while on the property where you’re renting? That depends, like all premises liability cases, on whether the property owner took steps to mitigate the potential harms. Using the five-part test above, if you can prove that a property owner could reasonably suspect criminal activity might occur, they should:

  • post warnings so tenants and visitors can keep themselves safe, or
  • provide other security measures to address the methods and/or harms of the crime.

That means if a parking garage poster warns drivers that the owners are not liable for belongings and that a break-in may happen, you would have no recourse if you left your laptop in plain view and it was stolen. However, if there were no warnings despite a rash of garage break-ins, you could argue that the property owner left you vulnerable.

Additionally, you must be able to prove that you were not more than 50% responsible for the damages you suffered—in the above scenario, a defendant might push back that leaving your laptop in plain view in a parked car was careless. Further, if you had left your door unlocked or your window down (or both), they might claim you were not exercising proper care in keeping your belongings safe.

Do You Have Questions About Your Case?

Our experienced premises liability attorneys have handled many complex cases involving tenants and property owners. Being the victim of a crime is terrifying, especially if the police aren’t able to catch the perpetrator. The good news is you could have recompense if you were on someone else’s property when you were targeted. Let us give your case the consideration it deserves.

Contact The Daspit Law Firm online or call (888) 568-7176 to speak to our experienced Dallas team.

Just a Few Reasons to
Choose The Daspit Law Firm

  • We Get to Know Clients on a Personal Level
  • There Are No Legal Fees Unless We Win Your Case
  • We Make Home and Hospital Visits for Clients
  • We Offer Free and Confidential Case Reviews
  • We're Available 24/7, At Night and On Weekends

What Our
Clients Are Saying

  • What a great experience at Daspit Law Firm!

    “What a great experience at Daspit Law Firm! While on vacation a few months ago I had the misfortune of being hit from behind while driving back from Austin. I had several back and neck problems caused by the accident. After the insurance company of the driver did not cover my expenses only weeks after the accident I then called Daspit Law Firm. Best decision I ever made! They not only got all of my medical visits taken care of, but I also received extra for my time lost from my job! I will definitely recommend the team at the Daspit Law Firm.”

    Cara M.

  • Had a great first visit and consultation with Robert.

    “Had a great first visit and consultation with Robert. He really patient with me and explained everything in detail. I have been really worried about my situation but Robert made me feel at ease and much better overall. I am so happy my friend referred me to Daspit Law.”

    Mandy H.

  • Such a great experience from start to finish.

    “Such a great experience from start to finish. From the moment I called to the first visit everyone was extremely cordial and went out of their way to accommodate my needs. We went through everything step by step and they made me feel comfortable throughout the whole process. very pleased with the settlement!”

    Julian S.

  • Jeff has done amazing and been in constant communication. Highly recommend!

    “I was uneasy about even talking to a lawyer because I don't trust them but after visiting the Daspit Law firm for a consultation I have changed my mind.”

    Jared L.

  • Mr Grinsfelder at Daspit Law firm took good care of me.

    “Mr Grinsfelder at Daspit Law firm took good care of me. I had a bad accident while on my job and was worried how I would take care of my family but he fixed everything. I am very happy I called Daspit Law and worked with Mr Grinsfelder. God bless you!”

    Victor M.