Protecting Yourself, Your Tenants and Your Property

By E-Renter Tenant Screening
Posted on January 9, 2011 under Landlord Paperwork and Forms, Landlord Tips | icon: commentBe the First to Comment

workplace-violenceOur previous post about a cop-calling tenant raised some additional questions from landlords:

Marilyn owns a duplex and lives in one unit. She rents the other unit to a tenant who confided in Marilyn that she is afraid that her ex-boyfriend was stalking her. The man was driving past the house several times a day, and the tenant had recently seen his car in the parking lots of the mall and grocery store where she had been shopping. She was worried, and wanted to let Marilyn know about his actions in case he became threatening.

Marilyn wants to protect her tenant and her property, but is rightfully concerned about getting too involved in the tenant’s situation. “I’m planning on calling the police if I ever see him near my property,” she said.

Police might recommend that Marilyn allow her tenant to take care of this problem directly, since the tenant is the legal resident of her unit. An attorney might say that Marilyn must take some sort of action to avoid being held responsible in the event a criminal action takes place against the tenant.

Encouraging a tenant who is being harassed to obtain a restraining order is certainly within a landlord’s area of responsibility. And as soon as Marilyn feels threatened by the ex-boyfriend, she too can seek a restraining order.

It is never a good idea to attempt any confrontation with a violent person. Stalking behavior is not acceptable behavior—it is a warning sign that should not be ignored. While it is understandable that Marilyn wants to protect her tenant and her property, it’s best to follow the law and let the police handle every confrontation with the ex-boyfriend.

Scott’s tenants were robbed soon after they moved into one of his apartment units. The thief took their TV, a computer, some cash and jewelry. The tenants claimed that Scott failed to protect them by providing proper door locks. Scott is curious about the limit of protection a landlord owes his tenants in this situation.

Robberies happen every day, in every level of neighborhood in America. A landlord cannot prevent a criminal who really wants to get in from entering a rental unit. However, solid locks on the entry doors and windows are necessary, and if your rental properties are lacking them, now is a good time to remedy that situation—before a robbery or something worse happens.

To avoid any question of liability, every rental agreement should include a clause requiring tenants to purchase renter’s insurance. Further, it should explain that the landlord’s insurance does not cover theft of the renter’s contents. If a tenant does not carry required insurance, the landlord could move to eviction.

Pre-screen all tenants as part of your standard application process. Background and credit checks will help ensure you rent to qualified tenants. For more landlord resources, including forms and information on tenant screening, turn to

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