Landlord Liable for Injury that Occurred on Leased Property

May 1, 2019 Posted in Case Law Review

Washington’s Supreme Court ruled that a landowner may be liable for injuries to a tenant’s employee that occurred due to defective equipment within the leased area, even though the tenant has possession of the premises. The lease provided the tenant with exclusive use of offices and warehouses and priority use of parking spaces and marine facilities, including a ramp where the injury occurred. The Port of Bellingham was responsible for maintaining the condition of the premises. There was a defect in the ramp which caused the injury. Washington’s Supreme Court held that the Port was liable for injuries that occurred on the ramp because the tenant only had priority use and not exclusive use of the ramp and because the Port agreed to maintain and repair the ramp. It is important for landlords to properly allocate who is responsible for maintaining the leased premises. Adamson v. Port of Bellingham, 193 Wash. 2d 178 (2019).

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