Because landlords are not typically in control of the day to day condition of the property they rent out, the law generally makes it pretty difficult to sue one for injuries sustained on their property. In fact, the default rule in many states is that a landlord is not liable to a tenant or any other guest for an injury caused by a dangerous condition on the rental property. However, this rule does have one major exception, referred to as the "latent defect" rule. This rule allows tenants and/or guests to recover for their injuries if they were caused by a hidden dangerous condition on the property.

In order to win a lawsuit for landlord liability, a plaintiff must establish:

1. A latent defect existed at the time of leasing that is known or should have been known by the landlord, but that could not have been discovered upon reasonable examination by the tenant.
2. The landlord fraudulently concealed a known dangerous condition.
3. The defect amounts to a public or private nuisance.
4. The landlord promised to correct the dangerous condition at the time of leasing but failed to do so.