ARNOLD, Associate Justice.
This case involves the extent to which a landlord is liable to a tenant for the negligence of an independent contractor who repairs the premises at the direction of the landlord. In a former appeal of this case involving a different issue we said:
The issue is now before us on the facts determined by the Municipal Court. It appears that the tenant had agreed to pay an increased rent if the landlord would install a hot water heating system. In the performance of that unilateral contract the landlord employed a competent independent
The Municipal Court of Appeals held that a landlord is liable for the negligence of an independent contractor only in two cases: (1) where the landlord undertakes to make repairs or install some improvement and the work is negligently done and as a result a defect or danger inheres in the finished work or product; (2) where the landlord undertakes to make repairs and the work involved is inherently dangerous. Since the present case fell within neither of the above classes the Municipal Court of Appeals concluded that the landlord was not liable.
While the conclusion of the Municipal Court of Appeals is not without supporting authority, the cases as a whole are in confusion
The Restatement of the Law of Torts, which is entitled to particular respect when authorities are in conflict, sets out the principle which we think should be applied to this case.
We regard this principle as sound. We must, therefore, examine the extent of the landlord's duty to the tenant in the case before us. Here it was the tenant's duty to repair and there would have been no violation of the landlord's duty had the plaster fallen through mere neglect. The landlord was, nevertheless, under a duty not to create an unsafe condition on the premises either permanent or temporary by any affirmative action on his part.
The landlord's duty does not extend to a negligent act of a person who is on the premises but who is not his direct agent, unless that act results in an unsafe condition. Therefore, had the contractor injured the tenant by dropping a pipe there would have been no liability.
There is a practical as well as a logical reason for following the principle of the Restatement. The effect of the cases which strictly limit the landlord's liability enables him to avoid a large part of the risks involved in making repairs or improvements and to compel an injured tenant to seek out and sue a contractor with whom he has had no dealings and who may not be financially responsible. In an earlier day it might have been argued that it was a hardship on landlords not to afford them this means of escaping liability for unsafe conditions caused by negligence in making repairs or improvements. Today insurance which protects both the landlord and the tenant against liability for the condition of the premises is available. Liability for an unsafe condition of the premises no longer is a substantial hardship.
"Negligence in the Operative Detail of Doing the Work.
"Except as stated in §§ 427 to 429, an employer of an independent contractor is not liable for bodily harm caused by any negligence of the contractor which does not affect the result which the employer is under a duty to have attained but consists solely in the improper manner in which the contractor does the detail of the work necessary to attain such result."