How Safe Is That Rented Room?

April 14th, 2016 by Farhan Naqvi in Personal Injury

Recent terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels have made Americans afraid to travel, and Las Vegas hotels must do more to make visitors feel safe, according to a leading scholar.

Peter Tarlow, a retired rabbi and professor at Texas A&M University who is a security consultant for officials at the upcoming Summer Olympic Games in Brazil, made the comments at the 23rd annual International Tourism Safety Conference, which took place at the Golden Nugget Casino and Hotel. “Tourists just will not go to a place if they don’t feel secure,” he told the 300 participants from 20 countries. Furthermore, he said visitors demand active security that is “professionalized and well thought through.”

Other speakers included Charleston, South Carolina Police Chief Gregory Mullen, who discussed regional security in the wake of a mass shooting that occurred last June.

Hotels and Landowner Liability

A previous post discussed premises duty towards uninvited guests, but a vast majority of people are on the land with the owner’s permission. As such, they are entitled to a greater degree of protection during their stays.

Licensees have traditionally been defined as social guests. But a growing number of courts consider these people to be invitees, because the landowner receives a noneconomic benefit from their presence in the form of social interaction. There may be a potential economic benefit as well, because social guests often turn into business partners and clients.

Under either the traditional or new approach, guests of hotel guests certainly qualify as licensees, because the hotel owner receives no benefit whatsoever from their presence. The same thing normally applies to guests of apartment tenants.

With regard to licensees, landowners have a duty to warn about latent defects, such as loose stair rails, sinkholes, and defective elevators.

Most people are invitees, meaning that they are on the land because of the owner’s direct or indirect invitation and the owner receives a benefit. So, an invited social guest is more properly an invitee. Furthermore, by opening for business, a business owner is indirectly inviting people to come to the premises for business purposes. Window shoppers, job applicants, people who are accompanying shoppers, and potential vendors are all invitees as well, even if no money changes hands.

Landowners owe an affirmative duty of care to invitees, because invitees have a right to presume that the property is safe. So, in addition to warning about latent defects, an owner must address deficiencies like:

  • Wet spots on the floor,
  • Dimly-lit stairwells or hallways,
  • Ice-slick parking lots, and
  • Loose electrical wires.

The plaintiff must also prove actual or constructive knowledge to recover damages, which means that the owner knew, or should have known, about the dangerous condition.

Partner with a Zealous Attorney

Landowners owe specialized duties to their guests. For a free consultation with an assertive personal injury attorney in Las Vegas, contact Naqvi Injury Law. We routinely represent victims in Clark County and nearby jurisdictions.


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