Is a landlord/owner responsible when a car is broken into in a lot that was advertised and promised to secured and gated but is not?

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Is a landlord/owner responsible when a car is broken into in a lot that was advertised and promised to secured and gated but is not?

I moved into an apartment in Feb. The ad said, “gated, secured parking.” The parking lot is neither gated nor secure. Someone smashed my car window to break into the car while it was parked in my assigned parking spot. Is my landlord/owner of the apt at all financially responsible for replacing the window since he promised (written in the ad as well as verbally upon move-in) that the parking lot would be safe? Alternatively, would I be eligible for a deduction in monthly rent since a major amenity (secured/gated lot) that was advertised and promised is not being delivered?

Asked on December 1, 2011 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

1) While normally the landlord would not be responsible for a break-in of a car in its lot, the fact that the lot was advertised as "gated, secured" may make the landlord liable. If the lot is not, as you indicate, gated and secured, then you may be able to hold the landlord responsible on the theory that it intentionally or negligently failed to carry out an obligation it voluntarily chose to assume.

2) If the fact that the lot was "gated, secured" was a factor in your deciding to lease this apartment and/or is mentioned in the lease, you may be able to obtain a rent reduction for this not be provided. You would precede on either a theory of fraud (it was misrepresented to you, to get you to rent) and/or breach of contract.

From what you write, therefore, it would be worthwhile consulting with an attorney about your possible causses of action.


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