Landlord/Tenant – Duty of Care – Common Law

Written by Joseph Collison on . Posted in Legal Updates

Case: Aguillon v. Fernandez
Court: Michigan Court of Appeals ( Unpublished Opinion )
Judges: Per Curiam – Markey and Meter; Concurring in the result only – Murphy

A landlord owes a duty to exercise reasonable care to protect his tenant “from an unreasonable risk of harm caused by a dangerous condition on the land,” Lugo v Ameritech Corp, Inc, 464 Mich 512, 516; 629 NW2d 384 (2001), this duty does not extend to “dangers [that] are known to the [tenant] or are so obvious that the [tenant] might reasonably be expected to discover them, Riddle v McLouth Steel Products Corp, 440 Mich 85, 96; 485 NW2d 676 (1992).

A one-inch difference between the living room and kitchen floors was an open and obvious condition. Further, the kitchen threshold did not present “special aspects” to impose liability despite its being open and obvious because the condition was not “effectively unavoidable,” leading to a “uniquely high likelihood of harm,” or impose “an unreasonably high risk of severe harm.” Lugo, 464 Mich at 518-519.