Some General Information about Landlord Liability

Posted by Teresa on September 10, 2010 under Landlord Tenant Lawsuits, Landlord Tips | icon: commentBe the First to Comment

tenant screeningWhat is an landlord  liable for? If a tenant falls on the sidewalk, is the landlord liable for damages? What about broken pipes? Read on for some general information about keeping yourself safe from liability as a landlord:

Landlords must provide a safe living space for their tenants. This means that if a faulty railing causes a child to fall from a landing, the landlord could be held liable. If there are large cracks in a sidewalk leading to an apartment building, the landlord can be held liable when a tenant’s guest trips and falls and injures him or herself. Or, if a rental house built prior to 1978 is being renovated, proper steps must be taken to protect occupants from lead paint poisoning. Landlords must also ensure smoke and CO2 alarms are installed and functioning. And plumbing systems must function properly—tenants could possibly sue for property damage from leaking pipes.

Landlords who hire property managers must be as careful about them as they are with potential tenants. Landlords can be responsible for any criminal actions by their employees. Exposing your tenants to harm and yourself to possible charges of discrimination, unfair treatment or harassment is a real threat to your rental property business.

Criminal Activity
In most states, landlords must reasonably protect tenants from criminal acts. Proper lighting and adequate door and window locks are the landlord’s responsibility. If a flimsy lock allows an assailant into a tenant’s rental home or apartment, it is possible that the landlord would be held liable. Subjecting residents to another tenant’s criminal activity could become a landlord’s liability, too. That’s one reason why tenant screening is so important. If a tenant is harmed by a parolee, for example, the landlord could be held liable for allowing a known criminal to move in.

For expert advice on how to protect yourself as a landlord, check with an attorney specializing in landlord/tenant issues. Protect your business, your tenants, and yourself from liability by screening tenants and making your rental properties safe for residents!