Can I sue my landlord for letting a handyman who stole from us into ourrental unsupervised?

UPDATED: Sep 16, 2011

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Can I sue my landlord for letting a handyman who stole from us into ourrental unsupervised?

Landlord recently hired a handyman to fix small issues in our apartment and left him unsupervised. Jewelery, cash, and other things were stolen. Can I sue?

Asked on September 16, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Massachusetts


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Unless there was some failure on the part of the landlord, probably not. A landlord may enter tenant's apartments to make repairs; and a landlord may hire someone to do that for him, and is not obligated to monitor the person each moment. As long as the landlord took reasonable steps in hiring this person--e.g. it was someone who was recommended, or whom the landlord had used previously without problem--and did not have warning of any issues (e.g. no one had previously complained of lost or stolen items when this person was around; the landlord was not aware of any prior arrests for burglary or theft; etc.), then the landlord  is  probably not liable. That, of course, does not mean that you cannot sue the handyman yourself, if you believe he stole, and/or report him to the police.

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