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Full Employment Act

Lady JusticeBy Colin McCarthy, J.D., Robinson & Wood, San Jose, CA There's been an awful lot of discussion around this blog regarding a landlord's liability for personal injuries and property damage occasioned to tenants and third parties. It would seem like the landlord is exposed in all manner of fronts for all manner of different circumstances. Appearances notwithstanding, the blog readers will know that the issue of notice, control, and an opportunity to remedy are all important in California in determining whether a landlord owes a duty to protect someone from injury. If they do, more forward-planning readers might be thinking: "Well I'll just protect myself by inserting a clause in my lease agreement that waives the tenant's rights against me." There are two problems with that. The first is that in California, any such language is prohibited by statute (Civil Code §1953) and public policy. The statute provides that unless the lease is presented to the lessee before she takes possession of the property, any provision in a lease which purports to waive the lessor's liability to the landlord for breach of a duty which leads to personal injury or property damage is void. This might suggest that if you show the lease agreement before the tenant takes possession, you might be able to work around it. Not so. Case law takes this exception away in the case of residential leases. The public policy behind it is that housing is important and difficult to come by, so a person should not be forced to waive these rights just to get a great a......
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From Drunks with Guns to Just Guns

GunsBy Colin McCarthy, J.D., Robinson & Wood, San Jose, CA So we have covered a landlord's liability for criminals, animals, and drunks. What about for tenants with guns? Does a landlord have any duty to third parties if he knows his tenant has guns? What about if he knows the tenant has guns but never uses them? What if the opposite is true? The landlord knows the tenant has guns and likes to use them. In the back yard of the rented premises. In the direction of occupied houses. Is there a duty? (What you think people?! You've read enough to know which way the Honorable Judge McCarthy would rule! Or have you?) If there is a duty, what does that duty entail? In one case on these facts, the parents of a 10-year-old girl who was accidentally shot and killed sued the landlord of the person who shot the girl. The tenant was in the back yard of the rented premises when he discharged the weapon. He did so in a direction facing the occupied premises of the decedent 10-year-old. The tenant had done this in the preceding month and the landlord knew it, or so it had been alleged. The issue was whether the landlord owed a duty to the 10-year-old girl. Whether there was a duty turned on the notice of the condition, and the opportunity to fix it. To impose the duty "the landlord must also have the opportunity and the ability to eliminate the dangerous condition being created b......
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