A residential building may offer bike racks or storage rooms that tenants may use. Generally, a landlord retains control over these facilities and must keep them in reasonably safe condition. A landlord may be liable for losses suffered because of the storage area’s disrepair and defects. This includes bike thefts where a landlord knew of a defect in security (e.g., if a garage lock is broken). Typically, there is no defect where a tenant simply locks their bike to a metal post although tenants may be able to ask for additional security measures.


If there is bike theft, the landlord may be held liable for failing to add additional security measures like lights and fences.

Tenants can sue for theft or property damage caused by the landlord’s negligent actions. In particular, landlords will have to pay the tenant’s damages if 1) the issue was known or should have been known by the landlord, 2) the landlord did not fix the problem in a reasonable time after they were notified, 3) the cost of the repair is reasonable, 4) and the negligence caused foreseeable injuries. The key element in many of these cases is when a landlord first discovered the problem. For this reason, tenants should keep documentation of when the notified and updated the landlord of each issue.

If there’s a defect with the security of the storage area for bikes that the landlord but not the tenant knew about, then the landlord may be responsible for the theft. For example, if the landlord offered a storage area and was informed by one tenant that the lock was broken and failed to inform the other tenants, the landlord may be held responsible for the cost of stolen bikes of those other tenants.

Once there is a crime, the landlord is typically responsible if they failed to add some reasonably-priced safety measure that could prevent a future incident. For example, it would seem reasonable for a tenant to ask for a cheap, automated spotlight pointed towards a bike rack if tenants’ bike has been stolen.