Apartment property owners and managers in Massachusetts have a responsibility to ensure their buildings and grounds are safe for those who live on and visit the property. This responsibility includes making sure walkways and handrails are in good repair, as well as keeping the grounds and sidewalks well-tended and lit to avoid accidents such as slipping and falling. Failing to do this can result in serious injuries, which in turn may lead to premises liability lawsuits.
Some people may not realize that avoiding a dangerous property condition goes beyond keeping the apartment complex safe on the outside. There are numerous obligations an apartment owner should address inside each unit, such as safeguarding windows on upper floors from children falling out, keeping smoke alarms and detectors properly functioning, and ensuring that electrical wiring in the building is in good repair.
Unfortunately, faulty wiring appeared to have been the cause of a tragic apartment fire in Lawrence on October 21. According to authorities, an electrical wiring failure started the fire in a ceiling space, which burned without detection before engulfing the rear of the building. It was unclear whether the hard-wired alarm system in the building’s common areas or the smoke alarms in the living units were functioning. Two boys perished in the fire in a third-floor bedroom.
This type of tragedy is often preventable when apartment owners take the necessary steps to ensure their tenants’ safety. However, in the event that an accident occurs as a result of a negligent property owner, victims and their families have the right to pursue legal action.
Source: ABC News, “Massachusetts Fire That Killed 2 Boys Was Accident,” Oct. 21, 2014