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Dangerous property causes injury, forces residents to evacuate

When a person in Pennsylvania rents an apartment, he or she assumes the place will be safe and habitable. When things go wrong, a call to the landlord or building manager usually brings someone to make repairs or somehow mediate the problem. However, if the building owner lets the property decline to the point where it becomes a dangerous property, tenants may end up getting hurt.

Months after a city inspection cited numerous violations at an apartment building in another state, the property management had not made the necessary repairs. Many of those violations involved fixing fire hazards, including hardwiring smoke detectors, mounting fire extinguishers on each floor, and installing sprinklers or fire resistant dry wall in the basement. Inspectors say they had warned the owners for years that the building was not up to code.

Recently, residents were notified by the county court that the occupancy permit of the building had been revoked because the building was unsafe. The owner was given a timeline to bring the building up to code. Meanwhile, the residents were told they had one month to evacuate their apartments. A week after the ruling, one resident was injured when a large chunk of the bedroom ceiling fell on her while she slept.

Despite the inconvenience to residents, many of whom are struggling financially, leaving the building may mean the difference between life and death. The tenant who was injured when the ceiling collapsed feels fortunate to be alive. However, she now suffers headaches and is dealing with doctor bills because of the incident. People in Pennsylvania and elsewhere who are injured on a dangerous property that the owner has not maintained or repaired are within their rights to contact an attorney for help in pursuing compensation for their pain and suffering.

Source: bnd.com, "'Dangerous to the lives': Belleville orders apartment residents to leave", Mike Koziatek, July 23, 2016

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