Landlords responsible for broken fences

In a recent interview with the San Diego Union Times, attorney Steven Kellman said that if a fence on a property falls apart, then it’s the landlords’ responsibility to make repairs – something that is likely the case in other parts of the U.S.

According to Kellman, if a fence is part of the original house, then it was is up to the property owner to fix any product that would be considered inadequate. The fence, he says, provides a level of security to a location that can prevent unwanted people from walking in a yard and possibly causing damage.

However, when it comes to damage caused by an absent fence, the liability is less clear, Kellman explained to a renter who wrote into the paper. The tenants in question were concerned about who's legally responsible for making fence repairs.

“The law gets tricky when determining liability,” he told the newspaper. “Your landlord is generally not liable for the unforeseeable criminal acts of someone coming onto the property; your landlord could be liable for preventable damage and accidents. This means if the presence of that fence can be viewed as predictably preventing trespassing and damages, then the failure to repair or replace it may make your landlord liable.”

There have been other issues of liability in recent weeks. The Kentucky Supreme Court ruled that a landlord could be sued if a tenant’s dog attacked another individual. The amount that the landlord has to pay will depend on language in lease documents.