The Duties of Residential and Commercial Property Owners
In Texas, as in all other states, the owner or “controller” of real property has a duty to maintain those premises in ways that minimize the risk of injury to anyone legally on the property. The laws govern both residential and commercial property, but are applied somewhat differently in practice. The responsibility falls on owners, property managers, landlords and tenants, if it can be shown that they had control over the premises.
Under Texas law, the owner/controller of real property must exercise reasonable care to monitor and maintain the premises in safe condition. The duty is not absolute—an owner/controller will only be required to do what a reasonable person would and could have done under the circumstances. The duty does not require that the owner/controller fix the dangerous condition. Instead, the owner/controller may either prohibit entry to the area posing the danger or may warn potential visitors of the risk. However, any warning posted must be sufficient that a reasonable person would see and understand the potential consequences of ignoring it.
The Legal Status of the Visitor
Texas, like most other states, makes a distinction for the purposes of premises liability, characterizing the visitor as an invitee, a licensee or a trespasser:
- An invitee is someone who enters the premises with the knowledge of the owner/controller and for purposes that benefit both parties. The owner/controller owes an invitee the highest legal duty, and must either fix or warn of any danger that the owner/controller knew or should have known existed.
- A licensee is someone who comes onto the property of another with express or implied permission, but solely for his or her own benefit. The owner/controller is only responsible for conditions that he or she knew of and that the visitor was unaware of.
- A trespasser is someone who is on the property with the legal right to do so. The only duty owed to a trespasser is to not intentionally inflict injury or harm.
Contact the Proven Premises Liability Lawyers at the Rafi Law Group
At our office, every new client is entitled to a free initial consultation. To arrange a meeting, contact us online or call the Rafi Law Group at 214-224-0064. Our phones are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Home and hospital visits can be set up by request.
We take all premises liability claims on a contingent fee basis. You won’t incur legal fees unless we get compensation for your losses. We will also advance all expenses. Se habla Espanol.