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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Building Manager Liable for Theft of Tenant's Property

In Virginia it is rare that a landlord or property manager is found responsible for third party criminal acts against tenants. Nevertheless, in the 2002 Arlington County Circuit Court case of King v. Atrium Unit Owners Association, a jury found a building manager liable for the burglary of a tenant's condominium.

Facts: While on vacation, a tenant left the key to her condo with a building manager. Circumstantial evidence satisfied the jury that the burglar used the key left with the building manager to steal $250,000 worth of property.

Finding: The building manager was negligent in the custodianship of the key.

Advice: Landlords, building managers and property managers must protect tenant keys, master keys and access codes that will permit access to tenant's premises. Negligent handling of such keys or access codes may result in liability for thefts.

For more information about commercial landlord law or to seek legal representation, contact Gross & Romanick today.