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Floor collapse at college apartments raises issues

Being a relatively large state, Florida is the home to several colleges and universities. The young people who attend these schools, assuming they do not just commute from their parents' homes, will no doubt a need a place to call home while they are attending classes.

Dormitories are one option, but many students choose instead to live in apartments and pay rent to a private landlord. Many complexes even cater to this type of renter with promises of things like cheap rent, proximity to campus or other amenities college students would appreciate.

A recent safety issue with one of these types of apartment complexes illustrates an important legal principle that Florida students who live in these types of apartments need to be mindful of.

In an incident that attracted national media attention, a group of students at another school in the South were having a dance in the clubhouse of one of these apartments. While a bunch of them were dancing, the floor suddenly gave way, sending dozens of people tumbling in to the basement.

Sources say 30 people had to be taken to hospitals, some with broken bones. Thankfully, all victims are expected to survive the fall. The cause of the floor collapse remains under investigation.

This case serves as an important reminder to Florida landlords who cater to students that they have a responsibility to ensure their tenants' safety, especially when it comes to common areas of the apartment complex like the clubhouse, the pool and even the hallways and sidewalks that connect individual apartments. When they fail to live up to this responsibility, they may be held accountable in a premises liability suit.

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