Tenant threatening to sue for falling in the yard!

Hi All,

I had this situation and would like to know where I stand legally in this.

The tenant says that her mother fell in the yard because of a small hole which she couldn't see as grass was a bit tall. She threatens to sue me. The managing agent negotiates with the tenant and waives off her electricity bills for 6 months(which I had to pay), so the tenant doesn't sue me.

The yard is shared by two flats. I get the yards maintained and a yardsman mows the lawns every month for which I pay.

Am I liable to be sued for negligence if someone falls in the yard when neither was I informed of a problem of the hole by the tenant (so I couldn't have fixed it beforehand), nor do I think was the hole present when the tenant moved in(it isn't in the inspection report)?

Do you see a fantastic managing agent who handled a situation very well or a softy who let me blackmailed? :rolleyes:

Cheers
Sam
 
Am I liable


Sam,


These things are like pyramids.


The threat of being sued is at the bottom. Lawyers and other smart-@$$e$ throw these around like confetti. Most people quiver at the knees and fold at this stage.....which is how they weave their magic. Great huh.


Being sued is next layer up. This is where the legal bluff and nonsense gets a bit more serious....but in no way is it the end of the road.


Being held liable is the next layer up.....it takes a lot for someone to pin you into a corner this badly, and the authorities to rule against you.


Appealing the decision is the top layer, and quite alot of cases are turned around. The chance of making a threat actually stick is very remote.


I'm also aware of a statute of limitation where there is a set minimum, everything else below this amount is automatically dismissed, even if you are liable.


IMHO - yes, you got shafted big time. Your PM folded at step 1....but then, most PMs do.


I'd suggest paddling your canoe a bit harder. Stop sitting up the back whistling dixie, whilst expecting some unknown nobody to look after the welfare of your canoe.



nor do I think was the hole present when the tenant moved in(it isn't in the inspection report)?

This bit cracked me up....I've read quite a few reports in my day, and not one had a description of all of the small holes in the backyard. Are you kidding me ?? The PMs if they are busy are lucky to spend an hour at most in the property. There is a million and one potentially deadly hazards in any property. These can never be eliminated from all of the clutzes / un-co's and general walkin' around with their eyes closed brigade.

Why you are mowing their lawns (are you renting to children or adults) and potentially putting yourself into the breach is another matter altogether.
 
Am I liable to be sued for negligence if someone falls in the yard

Please tell me that you have LL insurance with public liability insurance attached that would cover you for all this? :eek:

Also if that is the case, why are you and your PM trying to 'pay off' a possible litigant? :confused:
 
Do you see a fantastic managing agent who handled a situation very well

Absolutely not. It's admitting liability on your behalf. S/he should have made phone call saying that such threats were preposterous and let the silly woman attempt to sue.
 
I would have given a mouthful to the managing agent to be honest and made them pay for the electricity bills.

Did they liase with the tenant on your behalf without your consent? If they or you fold for things such as that then there is no end to the claims that can be made.
 
Sam,
This bit cracked me up....I've read quite a few reports in my day, and not one had a description of all of the small holes in the backyard. Are you kidding me ?? The PMs if they are busy are lucky to spend an hour at most in the property. There is a million and one potentially deadly hazards in any property. These can never be eliminated from all of the clutzes / un-co's and general walkin' around with their eyes closed brigade.

Thanks for the reply Dazz. I know what you are saying. I just made that point from a legal perspective. It was just a small depression in the ground rather than a hole.

It is a house divided in two flats. Bottom flat and Top flat. Since the yard is shared, the agent suggested that I should bear the cost of maintenance. What's the other option? I can't divide it 50:50 as the top tenant would assert that bottom flat tenant uses it more and I couldn't charge 100% from bottom tenant as the top flat tenant also uses it as it is common property.

Please tell me that you have LL insurance with public liability insurance attached that would cover you for all this? :eek:

Also if that is the case, why are you and your PM trying to 'pay off' a possible litigant? :confused:

Thanks for the reply. Yes, I have LL insurance. It was a difficult tenant and probably the agent got afraid and frustrated (the tenant was leaving anyway) and I trusted the experience of the Agent mindful of needless stress and unforeseen expenses. Also it was just a matter of three hundred dollars in electricity bills and the excess for insurance is $250. But where do I stand legally? What would you have done?
 
Absolutely not. It's admitting liability on your behalf. S/he should have made phone call saying that such threats were preposterous and let the silly woman attempt to sue.

Yes, I also thought so but wasn't sure if I am right.

I would have given a mouthful to the managing agent to be honest and made them pay for the electricity bills.

Did they liase with the tenant on your behalf without your consent? If they or you fold for things such as that then there is no end to the claims that can be made.

Yes, they liased on my behalf and I was only told when everything was settled. :mad:
 
you need to think of the big picture here. is the rent compensating you for your depreciation, holding costs and RISK???

if you have LL insurance (think it is covered under building insurance too) I would have just asked the MIL to produce the full medical reports and for her lawyer to advise what their claim is and refer it to yor insurer. Their first lawyers letter would cost a couple of grand and when they realise that the issue may go away
 
Thanks for the reply. Yes, I have LL insurance. It was a difficult tenant and probably the agent got afraid and frustrated (the tenant was leaving anyway) and I trusted the experience of the Agent mindful of needless stress and unforeseen expenses. Also it was just a matter of three hundred dollars in electricity bills and the excess for insurance is $250. But where do I stand legally? What would you have done?

Bear this in mind:
1. The tenant has another 6 years to decide if they want to make a further claim against you - and they may.
2. By waiving the electricity bills for 6 months your PM has made an admission of liability - this is strictly forbidden by your insurer!

What I'd do now:
1. Make a legal claim against your PM for:
a) exposing you to a possible future claim where your insurer may wipe their hands of you.
b) $300 as the tenant may have never made a claim
2. Advise your insurer of the situation - now!
3. make sure you keep the LL insurance paid up to date.
4. Get a new PM, the one you have now is a lawsuit walking around waiting to happen.
 
Another, good skilled and wonderful PM,
why arent there any threads where the property manager gets it right
what are you paying them for?
 
I would have told them exactly what I thought.

In this case, then I would go back to the PM and demand to be reimbursed for the electricity because they did this without my consent.

totally agree!! have you seen this "hole"? does it exist? is it big enough to trip someone or was the person just being negligent to their own welfare.

you can only be sued if it was proven that you were aware of the problem beforehand and did nothing about it.

this fear of "being sued" makes me so angry because it just feeds the leeches.
 
Hi All,

I had this situation and would like to know where I stand legally in this.

The tenant says that her mother fell in the yard because of a small hole which she couldn't see as grass was a bit tall. She threatens to sue me. The managing agent negotiates with the tenant and waives off her electricity bills for 6 months(which I had to pay), so the tenant doesn't sue me.

The yard is shared by two flats. I get the yards maintained and a yardsman mows the lawns every month for which I pay.

Am I liable to be sued for negligence if someone falls in the yard when neither was I informed of a problem of the hole by the tenant (so I couldn't have fixed it beforehand), nor do I think was the hole present when the tenant moved in(it isn't in the inspection report)?

Do you see a fantastic managing agent who handled a situation very well or a softy who let me blackmailed? :rolleyes:

Cheers
Sam
Sam,maybe just look at the simple facts if you have insurance in place,and the property is "safe"then it's the insurance companies problem and from some of the ex "Vic":rolleyes: Police that now work for Qld Based Insurance companies they would have stuff all hope,of a older person in a silk wig standing next too them in their time of need,, ,but the six months free elec "FMD",what a give up attitude i would not cop that in any way,what are you paying the PM for,money for nothing..willair..
 
Thanks for the replies.

Bear this in mind:
1. The tenant has another 6 years to decide if they want to make a further claim against you - and they may.
2. By waiving the electricity bills for 6 months your PM has made an admission of liability - this is strictly forbidden by your insurer!

Very good points, scary too!

careful tho - they are acting as your agent. you may have empowered them to do this in your agreement

I'm afraid, I may have. They are empowered to act on my behalf but I'm not sure if the agreement goes in specifics of how far the agent can go in "acting on my behalf". I'll check the agreement.

totally agree!! have you seen this "hole"? does it exist? is it big enough to trip someone or was the person just being negligent to their own welfare.

No, I haven't seen the hole as it is an interstate property. I am told that it was just a depression in the ground which may have developed by heavy rains or just somebody kicking dirt in the ground. It has since been levelled by topsoil by the yardsman.

you can only be sued if it was proven that you were aware of the problem beforehand and did nothing about it.

I thought so and it is very reassuring.

this fear of "being sued" makes me so angry because it just feeds the leeches.

Yeah, I feel it is the most unpleasant part of property investing.

Also just a hypothetical question. If tenant advises the managing agent of a problem. And landlord asks managing agent to organize the repairs. And before the repairs could commence, the tenant injures himself/herself and sues. Is the landlord still liable for the damages?
 
Why you are mowing their lawns (are you renting to children or adults) and potentially putting yourself into the breach is another matter altogether.

I must agree, however i think it's fair if there's gardens and the LL wants them to remain alive they should organise someone to look after them once a month. Or as a tenant i would have someone taking care of my gardens because i do not have a green thumb and everything would die.

Another, good skilled and wonderful PM,
why arent there any threads where the property manager gets it right
what are you paying them for?

I must agree, it's really funny you know. I want to be a PM - i have a feeling i'm going to be the most loved PM around when i do get into it.

you can only be sued if it was proven that you were aware of the problem beforehand and did nothing about it.

Exactly, also it wasn't a hole, more like a small ditch..No?

I'm afraid, I may have. They are empowered to act on my behalf but I'm not sure if the agreement goes in specifics of how far the agent can go in "acting on my behalf". I'll check the agreement.

Also just a hypothetical question. If tenant advises the managing agent of a problem. And landlord asks managing agent to organize the repairs. And before the repairs could commence, the tenant injures himself/herself and sues. Is the landlord still liable for the damages?

You may have signed a contract where they act upon your behalf on "Emergency Repairs" up to a certain amount without your consent and they send you a bill, i don't believe "Emergency Repairs" covers a small depression in the ground where the PM has offered the tenant 6 months free electricity on your behalf. It doesn't seem right, even if it's in your contract that they act on your behalf, i don't see how threatening to sue comes into play - i'd be taking action on the PM for damages to the amount of $550 (Electricity and LL insurance).

I will surely change my managing agent as soon as the property gets tenanted again.

Wrong answer! Change them NOW! No point waiting until they've found a tenant. You're just putting more money into their pocket, when they don't deserve it.

Where abouts is the property? There may be someone who has a fantastic PM in that area willing to pass their information on.
 
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Wrong answer! Change them NOW! No point waiting until they've found a tenant. You're just putting more money into their pocket, when they don't deserve it.

Very good advice little one. It is easy to change between tenants. Go there today and pick up the keys, or contact the agency that you want to manage it and have them do it for you. Easy!
 
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