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MCAUVIC v. SILAS. (06/10/59)

June 10, 1959

MCAUVIC, APPELLANT,
v.
SILAS.



Appeal, No. 23, Feb. T., 1959, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Lackawanna County, Jan. T., 1958, No. 228, in case of Margaret McAuvic v. Alexander Silas. Order affirmed.

COUNSEL

William J. Dempsey, with him John R. Lenahan, for appellant.

Harry P. O'Neill, with him Frank M. Walsh, for appellee.

Before Rhodes, P.j., Hirt, Gunther, Woodside, Ervin, and Watkins, JJ. (wright, J., absent).

Author: Gunther

[ 190 Pa. Super. Page 26]

OPINION BY GUNTHER, J.

On December 16, 1947, Margaret McAuvic, plaintiff, leased one half of a double dwelling from the defendant owner, Alexander Silas. From the date of the lease until the date of the accident the plaintiff used, with defendant's permission, the back porch of the adjoining tenant, for the purpose of hanging clothes.

On April 20, 1957, while plaintiff was hanging clothes and engaged in a conversation on said porch with Sarah Theobald, a guest of the other tenant, Sarah Theobald leaned against a railing of the porch which gave away, causing her to be thrown to the ground. Plaintiff attempted to save Miss Theobald and while so doing broke her finger. Upon trial the court below granted a compulsory non-suit, and this appeal is from the lower court's refusal to take off the non-suit.

Under the evidence as presented in the record, was defendant negligent in not maintaining said porch and railing reasonably safe for his tenants?

Defendant purchased this double house, known as 1317-1319 Wyoming Avenue, Scranton, Pennsylvania, in 1945. Mrs. Clara Green, who occupied 1317 before and after the sale, was one of the sellers. Each half of the double house had its own back porch. In 1947, defendant rented 1319 to plaintiff, who claims that she was informed by defendant that she could use the porch of 1317 for hanging clothes, and that she so used it, every two weeks, for over a period of ten years.

At this point it may be in order to discuss some of the rules pertaining to landlord and tenant, as set forth by our Supreme Court. A landlord out of possession may be liable where he conceals a dangerous condition of which he has knowledge and of which the tenant has no knowledge, or cannot be expected to discover, or where he should know of a dangerous condition and leases the premises for a purpose involving a public

[ 190 Pa. Super. Page 27]

    use and has reason to believe the tenant will not first correct the condition. A landlord of a multiple-tenanted building, having control of sidewalks, common approaches, passageways or parts of the building common to all tenants, becomes liable where he either had actual notice of a defective condition therein, or was chargeable with constructive notice. Lopez vs. Gukenback, 391 Pa. 359, 137 A.2d 771. In the present case the ...


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