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Property Management

Advisory Regarding Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals

Agents should be very careful when asked whether a landlord will accept pets.  Both Federal and State law require a landlord to reasonably accommodate a tenant’s disability.  Disability is defined very broadly to include any mental or physical disorder or condition that makes it difficult to perform a major life activity.  If a tenant requests that the landlord permit a service animal or emotional support animal because it is necessary to accommodate the tenant’ disability, the owner would be required to allow the tenant to keep the animal in most situations.

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Teenager Receives $5.7 Million in Premises Liability Case

Plaintiff, a teenager, was drinking with her friends and fell out a window. She suffered multiple skull fractures and traumatic brain injury. Plaintiff claimed that a contractor had replaced the windows, which had fixed bottoms to prevent falls, with large sliding glass windows that were low to the ground. Plaintiff claimed that the installation of such windows was negligent. She also claimed that the owner of the apartment complex had been warned of the potential dangers of the low window sills, but failed to address the issue. Defense counsel claims that the fall was caused by the plaintiff’s drinking and that the windows met requirements of the Building Code. The parties settled for $5.7 million with the contractor paying $950,000 and the owner of the apartment building pay $4.75 million.

Interesting Jury Verdict Regarding Premises Liability

A Sacramento jury recently awarded a woman $90,499 for lower back injuries after she slipped in a bathtub of the duplex that she rented.  The plaintiff claimed that she and her live-in partner sent letters to the property management company complaining about the bathtub not draining properly and being slippery.  She claimed they did not respond to her correspondence and did not address the issue.  She slipped in the tub injuring her back.  The defense claimed that her back injuries were due to her lifestyle and that medical treatment would not have been necessary if she had lost weight and modified her work environment.  The jury agreed with the plaintiff and awarded more than $90,000.