For most landlords, rental properties provide a reliable source of passive income. However, landlords can face some maintenance challenges.
Also, leasing your property is complicated and can greatly enhance a landlord’s chance of getting sued. To mitigate or completely circumvent liabilities, landlords must uncover and assess all vulnerabilities and undertake proactive steps to prevent or minimize potential lawsuits by current and prospective tenants.
In this post, our landlord tenant attorney addresses a few important ways landlords can protect themselves and avoid liability.
- Do regular inspections
Landlords understand the importance of a rental inspection when a tenant moves in and after a tenant moves out. Landlords use rental inspection reports to help determine which repairs are required, who should bear the cost of those repairs, and if the costs can be deducted from a tenant’s deposit. But, landlords should also do regular walk-throughs to note what needs to be fixed and arrange to have it repaired promptly. Walk-throughs can also help landlords discover problems tenants may have neglected to mention, like a leaky faucet or a pest problem. Landlords can also instantly notice environmental hazards such as lead paint, carbon monoxide, mold problems, etc. that must be eliminated.
Regular walk-throughs help landlords stay on top of their obligations, prevent delays with repairs, make sure the property is safe and in good condition, and prevent issues from spreading or worsening, costing more money and time.
- Obtain proper insurance
Landlords must have their property correctly insured at all times. The insurance must offer protection against lawsuits brought by a tenant. A tenant can sue for various reasons including if landlords illegally enter a rental unit, if the landlord has not followed proper eviction procedure, or because of injuries caused due to dangerous conditions on the premise. Landlords must have adequate liability insurance to cover the cost of litigation and the damage awarded if the tenant wins the suit.
- Utilize a rental agreement.
Before renting the property to a tenant, landlords should have a written lease or rental agreement — that is state-approved or written by a real-estate attorney — in place. This agreement must include rules that all tenants must follow and landlords must enforce the rules consistently. Landlords, however, must stay away from including any illegal provisions in their rental agreement that could lead to them getting sued.
Landlords must protect themselves against lawsuits at all times, therefore they should consistently strive to fulfill their duties and obligations to their tenants. The above-mentioned tips serve as precautionary actions to decrease the risk of getting sued. For more information about your landlord rights, contact Warren S. Dank for a landlord tenant attorney consultation.