Landlord Must Warn About Child Molester

A landlord had a duty to warn tenants that a child molester might be living in their apartment complex. The plaintiff and her three children were tenants in an apartment complex. The 9-year-old daughter of another tenant was molested in a meter room on the complex, but the landlord never notified its tenants of the attack.

Subsequently, the molester, who lived in the complex, sexually assaulted one of the plaintiff’s daughters as she walked to school. The plaintiff and her daughter sued the landlord for negligence, claiming that because of the landlord-tenant relationship, it had a duty to warn them that a child molester might be living there.

The Florida Court of Appeals agreed, finding that it is without question that the landlord at least knew that the assault allegedly occurred, because it admitted being told of the assault by a tenant and law enforcement officials, even if not told of the precise details of the assault. Because of its knowledge, it had a duty to protect against foreseeable criminal acts of third parties by warning tenants about those foreseeable acts.