Landlord Negligence Claims: What to Do and How to Prevent

Landlords handle a variety of responsibilities every day. If you are also your own property manager, that adds more to an already busy schedule.

There's rent to collect, bills to pay, maintenance requests to process, contractors to reach out to, and countless other things that you are responsible for. It can be a bit overwhelming at times.

Even more so when you realize that when you don't live up to your responsibilities as a landlord and property manager you may find that your tenant is able to file a negligence claim against you.

The best way to handle a negligence claim is to avoid it all together.

The first thing you'll want to do is to make sure that your lease covers all the bases.

A lease is a legal document that details out the responsibilities that both you and your tenant have when entering into the rental agreement.

You will want to go through your policies and expectations with them as you sign it so that you can make sure that both of you are on the same page.

They need to know that they are responsible for alerting you of any maintenance requests in a timely manner just as you are responsible for handling those in a timely manner.

If you don't know about the issue, you may not be able to get it fixed as quickly as the tenant would like you to.

Not every tenant will be proactive, though.

While you cannot enter without reason or permission, it's a good policy to set up regular inspections of the rental to make sure everything is in working order.

Open communication is the best way to avoid a negligence claim. Make sure that your tenant knows that you expect them to reach out should anything go wrong and that you're happy to handle it in a timely manner.

If you don't and your tenant does file a claim, you could find yourself on the hook not only for the action that you should have already taken, but also for any fines that the courts decide you are responsible for.

A good landlord-tenant relationship should be the goal of every landlord

A good tenant can be hard to come by in certain areas, so you don't want to give a good tenant a reason to look elsewhere at the end of their lease.

Take complaints seriously. Handle all repairs - large and small - quickly and efficiently. Communicate with your tenants so that they are aware if there will be any delays and why those delays are happening.

You expect your tenant to pay in a timely manner, so why wouldn't they expect you to handle your responsibilities just as quickly?

Respect between you and your tenants can make both your life and theirs that much easier.

 

 

Posted on Nov 26, 2012

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