Ask The Following Questions, Find The Answers To Be A Successful Landlord – Part IV

By E-Renter Tenant Screening
Posted on January 15, 2007 under Landlord and Tenant FAQs | icon: commentBe the First to Comment

We continue with offering some more tips and answering some more questions regarding landlord / tenant issues, to ensure everyone can make a success of a career in the rental business.

Q. 11. In a hypothetical scenario, the lease expires and your tenant does not elect to renew it, what should a landlord do? Should he / she advertise for a new tenant, inspect the property after a tenant moves out to determine, if any part of the security deposit is to be withheld, or start trooping in prospective tenants to view the rental unit, without taking into consideration a departing tenant’s wishes, or none of the above!

Ans. In this situation, what a landlord needs to do, when a tenant fails to renew the lease, is in keeping with lease terms, begin showing the rental unit to prospective tenants. And, when the tenant moves out, he / she inspect the property thoroughly to determine, if any security deposit needs to be withheld. As well, as long as the lease is still effective, tenant rights must be respected; irrespective of the fact the lease is not being renewed.

Q. 12. If, security is being withheld for property damage, what next steps should a landlord take? Should the tenant be notified of his / her intention within the lease’s stipulated timeframe, or it should be simply withheld, without the tenant being informed?

Ans. Most, if not all states require landlords to notify tenants in writing about their intention to withhold all or a part of their security deposit. Every state has its own set of rules regarding the time period landlords must adhere to for returning or informing ex-tenants of their intention to retain their deposit.

Q. 13. Again, in, a hypothetical scenario, the tenant damages your 3-year old carpet, beyond what can be put down to normal wear and tear. While, it costs you only $1,700 to replace the carpet, and you hold $3,000 in security, how much should be withheld? The whole amount, or what it costs to replace the carpet, or the depreciated amount, or what the carpet cost you when you bought it 3-years ago?

Ans. Legally, a court of law will ask the landlord to depreciate the carpet’s value and withhold money from the security, accordingly.

Q. 14. What can be considered as normal wear and tear i.e. walls riddled with holes for hanging pictures, a worn out high traffic area of the carpet, a broken window, or dirty walls that will need to be repainted?

Ans. Only, the broken window will be considered as damage to the property and not the result of normal wear and tear. When a property is rented out, no doubt it will be used and enjoyed by those renting it, which in turn creates wear and tear. Therefore, everything else except the broken window will be considered as part of normal use of the property. However, don’t forget any cleaning costs incurred, are tax deductible.

Q. 15. In another, hypothetical scenario, your tenant holds a party on your property and serves alcohol to his / her invited guests. Inebriated, one of them on his / her way home has an accident and is killed. As owner of the property, you end up getting sued by his / her estate. What will be the outcome, will the estate prevail, or will your insurance policy cover the damages, or the estate will not prevail as you did not serve the alcoholic drinks, or will the estate prevail, with you having to split the damages with the tenant?

Ans. Rest easy, you did not serve the drinks so the estate cannot hold you responsible. A tough question, as a landlord cannot be held responsible for every injury that occurs on his / her property. He / she is only responsible for those injuries that are a direct result of a property defect, which the landlord failed to correct, even though he / she knew of it.

States that have the Dram Shop (Barroom) Act allows them to hold the host liable for allowing a guest to drive drunk. While, only applicable to commercial establishments i.e. bars and restaurants; however, many states have extended the acts to private gatherings.

As for landlords, they should view taking of necessary precautions, such as, screening tenants and conducting background checks on prospective tenants, including ensuring whatever is promised in the rental lease is provided, as their insurance for a litigation free landlord / tenant relationship. A simple click of the mouse and any landlord or property manager can visit for tenant screening and background check services., the best tenant screening agency in America!

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