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Is a landlord vicariously liable for the tortious actions of its property management company (or employees thereof)?

Mesa, AZ |

If employees working for a landlord property management company commit an intentional tort against one of the landlord's tenants, would the landlord automatically be held vicariously liable as a matter of law?

In other words, as it concerns the landlord/property manager relationship, could a landlord be held vicariously liable for the tortious actions of employees employed by its contracted property manager, OR, could only the property manager (and not the actual landlord) be held vicariously liable for the actions of its own employees? Is a property management company (even if its a large corporation or an LLC) considered an "employee" of the landlord since they were contracted to manage the landlord's property?

Attorney Answers 5


  1. Would be better if you laid out the facts of the situation because you've asked several different questions, each with a different answer that turns on the actual facts and whether you've correctly identified the relationships and properly categorized the act itself.

    READ THIS BEFORE CALLING OR EMAILING ME: I am licensed to practice before the state and federal courts in Virginia. We have not established an attorney-client relationship unless we have a signed representation agreement and you have paid me. I give a 100% effort to get you on the right track with your issue. Sometimes that means legal educational information, sometimes that means counseling and non-legal guidance. You should speak with an attorney to whom you have provided all the facts, before you take steps that may impact your legal rights. I am not obligated to answer subsequent emails or phone calls unless you have hired me. I wish you the best of luck with your situation.


  2. Your question is extremely fact dependent and without knowing all the facts, it cannot be answered easily. I suggest you speak with a personal injury attorney and review all of the factors with him or her.

    Legal Disclaimer:

    If this information has been helpful, please indicate below.

    Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.


  3. Dear are they liable as a matter of law?

    I am a New York licensed attorney, and I agree with the two prior attorney answers. You are utilizing legal terms and you are seeking conclusions "as a matter of law" although you certainly realize that is an impossible event without a litigated lawsuit, depositions, evidence, and motions for summary judgment.

    Some unlawful actions of employees are not imputed to the owner. There are many circumstances where an employee's criminal conduct is without any relation to the employment or where there was no notice of a criminal propensity. Likewise, an attorney committing an assault is not necessarily going to drag the landlord into the litigation by the doctrine of vicarious liability.

    You did not provide any facts to gauge the measure of the closeness or remoteness of the employee conduct to the work duties of the employee.

    Read more about Respondeat Superior at:

    http://www.rmkb.com/tasks/sites/rmkb/assets/image/376.pdf

    Good luck.

    The answer provided to you is in the nature of general information. The general proposition being that you should try to avoid a bad outcome if you can.


  4. Your question is worded very vaguely. If you are asking if the management company is vicariously liable for an intentional act of an employee, typically no. There would have to be facts establishing that the employee committed the intentional tort at the direction of the management company. In order for an employee to be vicariously liable, the act has to be within the normal scope of the employee's work duties.

    The above statement does not create an attorney-client relationship and the submitting party should not consider the responding their attorney.


  5. There is a legal doctrine known as "Respondeat Superior" of "let the superior reply". This doctrine is invoked where there is a employment relationship between two parties. The "respondeat superior" doctrine stands for the proposition that when an employer is acting through the facility of an employee and tort liability is incurred during the course of this agency due to some fault of the agent, then the employer must accept responsibility.