This Article examines the California Supreme Court's decision in Becker v. IRM Corp., in which it held that landlords are subject to strict tort liability. The authors argue that this holding is in stark contrast to the traditional rules that granted landlords a broad immunity, even from negligence liability, when tenants or others were injured by defective conditions on the leased premises. The authors survey the law of landlord liability and examine the issues raised by the Becker decision. The authors suggest that the Becker decision is not an unprecedented step into uncharted territory, but rather the culmination of more than a decade of landlord strict liability decisions in California and the logical consequence of broader trends in the common law of tort, property and contract.
Virginia E. Nolan & Edmund Ursin,
Strict Tort Liability of Landlords: Becker v. IRM Corp. in Context,
San Diego L. Rev.
Available at: https://digital.sandiego.edu/sdlr/vol23/iss1/6