#255 Injured Police Officer Suing PM and Apartment Complex

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An Orlando Police Officer was shot and seriously injured last June and is now suing the apartment complex and their property manager.

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Resources Mentioned in this Episode

https://www.clickorlando.com/news/wife-of-orlando-officer-shot-during-standoff-sues-estate-of-shooter-apartment-complex

https://realestate.findlaw.com/landlord-tenant-law/faq-landlord-responsibilities-criminal-activities.html

Show Transcription:

00:00 Hey everybody. Welcome back to another episode of Rentprep for landlords is episode number two 55. I’m your host, Eric Worral. And today’s episode we’re going to be talking about just one story out of Orlando, Florida. It’s a sad story. A, police officer last June was shot, uh, when called to the scene of a hostage situation inside of an apartment complex. And that particular police officer has been in the hospital since that incident last June and him and his wife are suing Matt only the alleged perpetrator, but also the apartment complex and the property management company for not doing proper tenant screening and placing his life in danger. So we going to be breaking that down, sharing some audio from the local news clip, and we’re going to get to all that right after this.

00:57 1,2,3,4 ya ya ya…. Welcome to the RentPrep for landlords podcast. And now your host, Steven White and Eric Worral.

00:57 Oh, already. So this is a relatively quick audio clip. I comes from Click orlando.com. I was posted by Emily Spec, this was posted on April 11th, 2019. This is going to give us a little bit of the background story of what’s happening in this situation where a police officer, I was shot last year in Orlando, Florida and the lawsuit that is being brought to light. I just within the last week. All right, let’s take a listen

01:25 An Orlando police officer who was shot and left in a coma tonight, officer Kevin Valencia’s family is suing the apartment complex where that shooting happen.

01:34 So they claim that complex is partially responsible for getting him hurt in that hostage situation. New Six is Amanda Castro is looking into why they may be placing this blame.

01:45 This 16 page lawsuit claims that the apartment complex were officer Valencia was shot, should have done a background check on Gary Lindsey and if they had, they would have known that he was a violent criminal. The suit alleging that their negligence resulted in officer Valencias serious injuries.

02:00 Orlando police officer Kevin Valencia is still in the hospital recovering from serious injuries after responding to a hostage situation at the Westbrook apartments last June. Now he and his wife are filing a lawsuit against the complex, the management company and Gary Lindsey. The accused gunman claiming the apartment complex was negligent. The suit says apartment management is supposed to conduct criminal background checks on all adults living in the units as part of the rental application process. Valencia attorney claims department management either failed to do a background check on Lindsey or knew about his violent criminal history and let him live there anyway. The suit also claims the complex failed to provide tenants working keys, which is why Valencia was trying to kick down the door to get into the unit to rescue the 4 children held hostage inside moments before he was shot. The lawsuit says quote as a direct and proximate result of defendant’s negligence or recklessness and carelessness, Kevin suffered serious injuries and damages.

02:57 We called and left a message with the company to see if they had anything to say about this lawsuit, but we’re still waiting for them to return our call. Reporting in the newsroom, I made a Castro getting results new six.

03:08 So I saw this a news story come across my email. And to be honest, I hadn’t heard a story like this before. I, it’s a pretty interesting story as far as the, the plot angles that are going on here, right? Um, a lot of times you hear about issues or maybe a tenant suing a landlord or a landlord suing a tenant, but you don’t hear too many times about a police officer whose life was endangered, seriously injured, who is suing the landlord, the, Oh, I shouldn’t say the landlord. He’s suing the apartment complex and the property management company, uh, for putting his life in danger. So I decided to do a little bit more research on this topic to see what I could find. I ended up on a, a website called realestate.findlaw.com .A pretty trusted a website as far as I getting questions answered as far as a legal terminology and a legal situations.

04:03 So the questions on here is it says, what responsibility does a landlord have for the tenants safety and security? So I’m gonna read some of this for you because I think this will help kind of fill in some of the gaps on this story because you’re probably wondering, okay, like could this happen to me if I didn’t do a proper tenant screening or I placed a, uh, a violent individual into a property who has a history of violent crimes and then they, uh, they commit some sort of crime, am I going to be liable? What is my liability as the landlord property manager or owner of that apartment complex in this particular situation? So it says that in most states and jurisdictions, landlord’s responsibilities cover at least to some degree protection of their tenants. This protection responsibility may impose a legal duty on the landlord to take steps to protect their tenants from thieves, assailants and criminal acts from other tenants.

04:57 In addition to this responsibility to the tenants, landlords may also be partially responsible for protecting the surrounding community from criminal acts of the tenants. For example, some states have codes and statutes that impose liability on landlords for renting property to drug dealers and increasing numbers. Landlords are being brought to court by tenants and had been injured by criminals while on their rental properties. Settlements from these cases often reaching in the millions of dollars, especially when a similar assault or crime occurred on the same rental property in the past. So I thought that was a pretty interesting information there. I like a lot of things, it depends on your local jurisdiction and what the local law requires. Uh, but I also thought it was interesting that a lot of it’s based on the history of their property. Is this a running a issue where there has been issues in the past and this is a repeat offender or is this the first time offense?

05:53 So a lot of it, it’s going to kind of depend on the situation. But, reading a little bit more on this article, it says, can landlords face legal trouble for tenants that deal drugs on the rental property? can i got a bullet point list, but I just wanted to read the one here. And so that any person that is injured or otherwise bothered by drug dealers and landlords, rental properties, be it another tenant or someone in the community may sue the landlord claiming that the rental property has become a public nuisance or poses a danger to the community. So in this particular story from the local news, I mean, it wasn’t an issue that I saw as far as a person being a drug dealer, but it was a known violent, a person who was placed in the apartment. he had a criminal history of violent criminal history and the police officer that was being called out to the location, uh, it could make an argument that the, um, that he is someone in the community and consume, claiming that the rental properties become a public nuisance or poses a danger to the community.

06:53 So it’d be interesting to see what happens. I’ll try and keep an ear out for this to see what the final, resolution is on the story. Uh, but I share with you guys because I don’t love sharing these negative stories in the news. I try and not, not share too many of them. Um, but it’s just a good reminder to let you know that it’s not just about protecting your investment and trying to place a good tenant in your rental properties so that you don’t have any headaches. It’s also about protecting your community. It’s about making sure that you’re not jeopardizing other tenants and their livelihoods by putting a dangerous tenant into a property. And it’s also about protecting your life, your personal investments because you don’t want to be sued for, you know, endangering a police officer and dean during a neighboring tenant.

07:39 These are all things that you want to think about and why you’re going to run a thorough background check. I know this is a self serving message, but we don’t do it too often on the podcast. I be repeating that if you’re not running background checks, you need to be doing it. You’re there. There’s so many different things that you’re going to be able to at least make sure that you’re crossing your t’s, dotting your i’s by doing this. Uh, and if you run one through rob rentprep, one of the things that we have an advantage on is the fact that we do have live screeners in the office. This makes it so that, uh, in a lot of instances there are certain states now that are making it so that they require manual access to their database so they do not allow instantaneous access.

08:19 Uh, that’s kind of the, the lingo that they use. Those states are Wyoming, Delaware, Massachusetts, Colorado, and now we’re starting to see a North Carolina as well. So a good example is in North Carolina. If you run an automated background check, which I will admit, we do have an automated platform in smart move. Uh, we do offer the smart move reports, which I believe are a top notch a reports as far as background checks go from an automated platform. And the reason we offer those, as a lot of landlords want to see that credit score, but if you’re in the state of North Carolina and you run it on that service, uh, you won’t see the specific criminal history. So you’re going to see that there was a criminal record, but then if you want to find out what that criminal record was, you’re going to have to do more research to figure out what it was.

09:06 If you order a rentprep background check, we have screeners that manually hand compile the report, so they’re going to be able to access those databases, manually and be able to pull that information and put that information on your report. Same goes for Colorado. The reason that this is happening where these states are requiring manual access, you could probably guess it, it’s money. They want money in their hand, for our extra money from consumer reporting agencies like rentprep, Padella screening, and they, it’s a way for them to pad their pockets to get more state funding. So, uh, that’s the reason though unfortunately, that the and consumer sometimes is not seeing data. So they may be purchasing an automated report thinking that they’re going to see the criminal history if they’re in a Colorado, but they won’t, it’s not going to show up on the report and it’s just going to show up blank.

09:56 So, if you are in one of those five states that I mentioned earlier, be cognizant of that. It varies from state to state exactly what you will and won’t see, but just be aware that there’s a potential that you may not be seeing criminal data if you’re running an instant background check. So like I said, we don’t do a lot of these type of messages on the podcast because we want to be a, you know, fair and not just a tutor own horn here and make it a pitch about rentprep. But we are a background check service. We have automated reports that include a credit score with smart move. But if you’re in an area that you want to get more granular with the detail and you want to make sure that you’re seeing that criminal data, uh, we have options for you on that as well. All right, guys, thanks for listening and look forward to catching up with you next week. Have a great week. Take care.