Landlords in most states have some degree of legal responsibility to protect their tenants from would-be assailants and thieves and from the criminal acts of fellow tenants. Landlords must also protect the neighborhood from their tenants' illegal activities, such as drug dealing. These legal duties stem from building codes, ordinances, statutes, and, most frequently, court decisions.
Rental property owners are being sued with increasing frequency by tenants injured by criminals, with settlements and jury awards typically ranging from $100,000 to $1 million. Landlords are especially likely to be held liable when a crime occurs on property where a similar assault or other crime occurred in the past.