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Abstract

Can a landlord be held liable under a covenant to repair for injuries to his tenant's invitees caused by the landlord's failure to repair? The new rule in New York answers yes. This case note examines the new rule in New York as held in the New York Court of Appeals' decision in Putnam v. Stout, 38 N.Y.2d 607 (1976). The Putnam decision indicates that once a landlord covenants to keep the premises in a safe condition and has received notice of the need for repairs, the landlord will be liable in tort for his breach of the covenant to repair and will no longer be able to immunize himself from tort liability by failing to repair. The case note suggests that New York's new rule goes as far as is currently advisable, in contrast to other jurisdictions where a landlord may be held liable even without a covenant to repair or retention of control of the premises by the landlord.

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