I presume you have insurance on the dwelling. Notify your carrier of this situation. In Colorado, there are certain non-delegable duties that belong to landlords and that may be the case regarding snow removal in New Jersey.
In no way am I offering you legal advice, and in no way has my comment created an attorney-client relationship. You are not to rely upon my note above in any way, but insted need to sit down with counsel and share all relevant facts before receiving fully-informed legal advice. If you want to be completely sure of your rights, you must sit down with an experienced criminal defense attorney to be fully aware of your rights.
The owner of the property is going to be sued and depending on the lease is worded, the tenant could potentially as well. However, the owner is more likely the one with money to pay a judgment. Call your insurance carrier and report matter if someone fell on a property you own. The carrier will provide you with a free attorney to deal with this.
In New Jersey, a residential landowner generally owes no duty to pedestrian passers-by with respect to the sidewalk. The exception is if the residential landowner caused the creation of a hazard on the sidewalk (such as by having a drainpipe divert water onto the sidewalk that froze). In contrast, a commercial landowner and his tenant would generally have a duty to pedestrian passers-by. Whether a landowner is commercial or residential has to be analyzed by a lawyer. Usually, owner-occupied premises are not considered commercial. However, you should consult a lawyer. You may wish to consider having the tenant agree in writing to defend and indemnify the landlord, or to procure insurance with the landlord listed as a named insured.
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It depends what the lease says regarding responsibility and liability,and also if the tenants have insurance. If not you can be sure you will be sued so report it to your own insurance company.
Dean explained this perfectly. Going forward, you should have a lawyer look at your current lease - make sure that the lease puts this responsibility on the tenants, require the tenants to purchase their own liability insurance, and indicate that in the event that the landlord gets sued for a failure of the tenant to abide by the lease requirements, that the tenant must indemnify and defend the landlord.
Each case is fact senstive, so all answers should be viewed as general advice only, and should never replace a thorough and in depth consultation with an experienced attorney. Further, an answer should not be seen as establishing an attorney-client relationship.
Probably both will be sued. Ice and snow removal is a non-delegable duty imposed on the property owner. That being said, the property owner (by contract - the lease) may be entitled to defense costs and indemnification by the tenant, which will not pay unless the tenant has renter's insurance.
your not responsible for your renters negligence unless you knew that they were continuously violating the lease provisions for safe upkeep including snow removal. Then your charged with notice and a duty. If your a landlord out of possession of the rented property then no your not at fault.
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