Under Florida Law, When May a Landlord Be Held Liable for Injuries Sustained by a Person on Leased Property?

Under well-established Florida law, the duty to protect others from injury resulting from a dangerous condition on a premises rests on the party who has the right to control access by third parties to the premises, be it the owner, an agent, or a lessee of the property. See Bovis v. 7-Eleven, Inc., 505 So. 2d 661, 662 (Fla. 5th DCA 1987). When the dispute involves a leased premises, the extent of responsibility for injuries occurring on the leased premises during the term of the lease depends upon the extent the owner of the property maintains control over the premises. See Craig v. Gate Maritime Properties, Inc., 631 So. 2d 375, 377 (Fla. 1st DCA 1994). For instance, if a lessor completely surrenders both possession and control of the premises to a lessee, the lessor will not be held liable for injuries sustained by third parties while on the premises since the duty to protect third persons from injuries on the premises rests on the party who has the right of possession, custody, and control of the premises. See Wal-mart Stores, Inc., v. McDonald, 676 So. 2d 12, 14 (Fla. 1st DCA 1996), approved, 705 So. 2d 560 (Fla. 1997).  The issue of control over the premises is a matter of law for the Court.  See Jones v. Basha, Inc., 96 So. 3d 915, 916 (Fla. 2d DCA 2011).

Joel Ewusiak represents parties in disputes involving injuries sustained on leased premises.  Please contact Joel for legal assistance with your specific matter.