Can Apartment Complex Owners be Liable for Not Providing Safe Lighting?

You should be able to feel safe in your apartment or home. Landlords and apartment complex owners have some level of responsibility when it comes to providing safety and security to apartments they are renting. Providing adequate lighting is one thing apartment owners can do to protect their residents. There are several areas, and lighting is one of them, where apartment complex owners open themselves to a lawsuit for negligent security.

Can Apartment Complex Owners be Liable for Not Providing Safe Lighting?

Every state, and some cities, have different rules and expectations for landlords and owners of apartment complexes. It is a good idea to be somewhat familiar with the rules in your area, which may be different than another place you may have lived.

Lighting in parking lots, stairwells, and other public areas around a complex is essential for your safety. If it is dark you will not be able to see as well and you could be injured in a fall. A greater danger perhaps is that of burglary. Criminals look for easy targets and an area that is not well-lighted makes an apartment an appealing target. Keep in mind that burglary does not always mean something was stolen.  Breaking into an apartment to do a sexual assault, for instance, is also burglary. Even if you accidentally leave your door open or unlocked, and someone enters to steal your property, that is still considered burglary.

According to FBI statistics, 71 percent of burglaries happen in residential buildings, such as apartments. This means apartments are particularly vulnerable to crime. Apartment complex owners should realize this and should provide security, which would include adequate lighting.

One reason apartments are vulnerable is that the renter does not have as much control over security. If you own your home and the s property it is on, you may devise any security system you like and have as much lighting as you want.

Apartment dwellers do not own the land the building is on, so they do not have the freedom to install lighting or other security mechanisms outside of their individual apartment. It is up to the landlord then to provide that security.

Many landlords do the right thing,  but there are some that will not, and they will try to blame the victim when something bad happens. They may try to tell you that they do not have to provide lighting or any other type of security.  

Protecting yourself

If you ever have a problem, it will be necessary to prove the landlord could have taken some action to prevent the problem, and did not do so. If you notice safety issues being ignored, you should contact your landlord. Keep a record of what was said and what was done, noting the date and time.  A single light bulb out for one day is not really an issue. It generally needs to be an on-going problem.

Keep records of any communication you have had with your landlord. If the landlord is not cooperative or refuses to provide basic security, it would be a good idea to send a written letter and keep a copy. Also keep records of things you notice, such as stairwells not being lit, or a lack of lighting in a parking lot.

If something does happen, you will have records of your attempts to get something done. You will also have a record of unsafe conditions that you have noticed. These are things that could prove the landlord was negligent in providing security.

It is also a good idea for apartment dwellers to talk with each other. Tell your neighbors if something bad happens, and ask them if anything has happened to them. If there has been criminal activity in your apartment building, your landlord probably knows about it and may try to hide the fact that he or she knows. This too is negligence.

If you are injured in some way or have a burglary, get any medical attention you need first. Keep a careful written record of exactly what happened, and what caused the issue to happen.  Ice on a sidewalk, and poor lighting, could cause you to fall for instance. Poor lighting could help a criminal break into your apartment. These are things you will need to have as a written record.

Once you have received the medical attention you need, contact a qualified legal expert, such as a lawyer that specializes in negligence cases. Bring any written records you have that will support your case. Usually, the first consultation is free and your lawyer will either take your case or will advise you to not proceed. 

Sometimes all it takes is a letter from your attorney to get a matter settled. In some states, you may not have to wait until something bad happens to get an attorney involved. If something bad happens usually it is settled without going to court, but our attorneys will go to court for you if necessary.

If you have been injured or suffered loss, contact one of our attorneys today.


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About Dequiana Jackson

Dequiana Jackson, Founder of Inspired Marketing, Inc., helps overachieving women entrepreneurs conquer limiting beliefs and create marketing plans that win. This includes one-on-one marketing plan development, digital product creation, web design and content marketing. Dequiana is the author of Know Your Business: How to Attract Ideal Clients & Sell More and runs the award-winning blog,

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One comment

  1. I definitely agree that landlords and apartment complexes should be held responsible when it comes to providing safety for their tenants. This is the main reason why I want to stay in an apartment and not just a regular house. I’ll be sure to add building security to my list of standards as I look for luxury apartments that I can rent.

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