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Hogan v. Woolson

A-5436-09T4 (N.J. Super. App. Div. 2011) (Unpublished)

LANDLORD-TENANT; LANDOWNER LIABILITY — The liability of a landlord of a leased residential home is limited to only those circumstances where a person is injured by a latent defect in the property that was fraudulently concealed; otherwise, the tenant having complete control of the home, is the one who may have liability to the injured party.

A pizza delivery carrier fell on a single family home’s icy porch. The entire home was leased by a married couple. The couple admitted that they were responsible for snow removal and for the treatment of ice. The property owner claimed that he was responsible only for things that were broken at the house. Nonetheless, the injured pizza delivery carrier sued the property owner asserting that the property owner was negligent for “[f]ailing to exercise reasonable care to protect [him] via inspection and other affirmative acts from the danger of substantial risk of injury” and “[f]ailing to keep and maintain [the property] in a condition reasonably safe for its intended use.”

The Court, on a summary judgment motion, ruled in favor of the property owner. It found that there was “no dispute that the entire single-family dwelling was leased to [the couple] and that they were responsible for the routine maintenance of the property, including the removal of snow and ice. Further, there was no evidence that [the property owner] failed to advise the tenants of a potentially dangerous condition of the property or that he concealed a latent condition.” The law in New Jersey limits “the liability of a landlord of a leased residential home to only those circumstances in which a plaintiff is injured by a latent defect of the property that was fraudulently concealed.”


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