If the sidewalks in front or around your multi-family apartment building aren’t in good repair, it could be a liability suit just waiting to happen for a landlord. Because cracks and uneven pavement can trip even a watchful tenant. Plus, even if the tenant isn’t watching to see where feet are landing, you as the landlord still could be held to be at fault.
However; if the sidewalk is cracked and you aren’t aware of the damage, you may not be liable if a tenant or visitor trips and falls. Say that just after a winter storm the snow melts and then freezes again making cracks in your sidewalk, but no one has informed you of the damage the snow and ice has done. If the damage isn’t reported to you, you may not be held liable for anyone falling down and getting hurt. Also, if in the rental agreement the tenant is supposed to shovel the walk and fails to do so; and someone falls due to this, then you aren’t liable. However; if you are to shovel the sidewalk and you fail to do so, the you could be held responsible if someone falls.
So what should you do to protect yourself as a landlord from lawsuits dealing with your sidewalks? Well, you should make an inspection regularly of the outside of your multi-family building to make sure everything is as it should be. If for some reason the sidewalk is in disrepair, then hiring a professional contractor to fix it may be the best thing to do. A professional contractor knows how to fix cracks, broken sidewalks and other states of disrepair so the costs are worth it if you don’t have the right skills for the job. Also the job will be done correctly and in the long run it will save you money by not having lawsuits filed because people fall and get hurt.
So leaving a sidewalk cracked and damaged is dangerous to your tenants and their guests. It also can be a bank account hit in the worst way. So it’s better to invest a little money now and have the job done right then to wait and be sued.