Wilmington Personal Injury Blog

Personal Injury Attorneys

blog home Building Collapse When a Ceiling Collapses in a Residence, Is the Landlord to Blame?

When a Ceiling Collapses in a Residence, Is the Landlord to Blame?

On behalf of Joel Rhine of Rhine Law Firm, P.C. posted August 10, 2018

A ceiling collapse can be a tenant’s worst nightmare. If you’re in the home, you may suffer severe injuries when a structure falls down on you. Even if you are not in the home at the time, you can still suffer damages if your personal belongings are destroyed in the collapse.

So who’s responsible when a ceiling collapses into the home of a tenant? The owner or property manager may be responsible under certain circumstances.

When a Landlord Is at Fault for a Collapse

In North Carolina, prior to the passage of the Residential Rental Agreements Act in 1977, the rule of caveat emptor (Latin for buyer beware) applied. Landlords were not required to make repairs and were not liable for tenant injuries for any failure to make repairs.

Now, under the North Carolina Residential Rental Agreements Act, landlords owe certain duties to tenants. Landlords must use ordinary care to keep their properties in a safe condition. This includes performing reasonable inspections and correcting unsafe conditions revealed in the inspection, complying with housing and building codes, making all repairs to put and keep the property in a fit and habitable condition, and maintaining in good order all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air conditioning, and appliances.

Landlords are required to make repairs when they know or should know of the unsafe condition. Landlords are responsible for knowing what a reasonable inspection would reveal. Therefore, to find that a landlord was negligent in the collapsed ceiling, the injured party must prove either that the landlord knew that the ceiling was not safe (for example, if the tenant had provided notice to the landlord that the ceiling had a water spot and was bulging) OR that if the landlord had done reasonable inspections, the landlord would have discovered the unsafe ceiling.

Under the Residential Rental Agreements Act, a “landlord” is defined as the owner and any rental management company that has the authority to make repairs to the property. This means that if the owner hired a property manager to oversee and maintain the property for them, then the property manager would owe the above duties and could be liable if a breach of the duties caused injury. If you sign a lease with a property management company and not the owner, then the property management company is your landlord and owes you the duty to keep the property safe by repairing any defects of which it has knowledge or should know about.

The Importance of Speaking to a Construction Lawyer

A ceiling collapse can be traumatic to deal with. It can also be very difficult to prove that a landlord was negligent in causing the collapse. But an attorney can investigate and determine if an injured party has a claim against the owner and/or property manager, which is why it is so important for anyone suffering personal injuries from a ceiling collapse to speak to Rhine Law Firm, P.C., as soon as possible.

For a consultation with an experienced Wilmington construction litigation lawyer, please call (910) 772-9960.

Related Articles:

Posted in: Building Collapse

“They worked hard for me after I was involved in an auto accident. I appreciate their efforts and making me feel like family.”

ReviewerFive Stars

-Becky, posted at Google Review

When it Really Matters When it Really Matters

Contact Rhine Law Firm, P.C.

Working with our firm means your needs will be met and your questions answered by someone who knows your name and the details of your case — every time you call.

Contact Rhine Law Firm, P.C., at (910) 772-9960 or (866) 772-9960 toll free for a free initial consultation. Evening and weekend appointments upon request. Office hours 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Evening and weekend appointments also available. We also offer Spanish interpretation and translation services.

Rhine Law Firm, P.C.

1612 Military Cutoff Road, Suite 300
Wilmington, NC 28403
Toll Free: (866) 772-9960
Phone: (910) 772-9960
Fax: (910) 772-9062

Rhine Law Firm

Connect With Us

Based in Wilmington, North Carolina, Rhine Law Firm, P.C. represents clients statewide. We Regularly Meet With Clients After 5 P.M. And On Weekends

*Disclaimer: This is an advertisement by Rhine Law Firm, P.C., 1612 Military Cutoff Rd., Suite 300, Wilmington, North Carolina, 28403. The Rhine Law Firm, P.C., is licensed to practice law in the state of North Carolina and does not seek to practice in any other state or jurisdiction. To the extent that you reside in a state other than North Carolina, the Rhine Law Firm, P.C., may associate counsel licensed to practice law in that jurisdiction if necessary to comply with any and all rules of professional conduct.

No representation is made that the quality of legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers. This advertisement does not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter, either express or implied. Prior outcomes do not guarantee any future results. The choice of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisements. Do not rely on this advertisement in making any medical decision. Please call your physician before making any medical decision, including altering your use of any drug or treatment.

© 2020 Rhine Law Firm, P.C. - All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Blog Sitemap | Website Design and Legal Internet Marketing by SLS Consulting

Contact Rhine Law Firm, P.C.

During a free consultation, we will look at the important aspects of your case, answer your questions, and explain your legal rights and options clearly. Our attorneys also remain available to our clients via phone, email and other means, ultimately focused on doing what is truly in their best interests.

Free Consultation Form