pointWhen it comes to being a landlord it's always best to remember that you are responsible for most anything that happens on your property, even if you have a property management company. If a tenant does not alert you to a clogged drain and the pipes eventually burst, it will still be your responsibility to get the plumber out there and pay for the visit and repairs. If a tenant is injured because of something that you could have fixed, likely you will be responsible for it. In some states, if a tenant's guest is injured you are responsible as well, as if that individual were your tenant. If a tenant decides to start cooking up drugs in your rental, you'll likely be responsible for the clean up which could cost you thousands of dollars. In the end, if it happens in a home that you own, there's a chance that you could be held responsible for it, at least monetarily.

If you've hired a property management company to take care of your properties, you'll need to make sure that they are doing regular inspections both for your tenants' sake and for your own. Keeping the property up to code and safe should be one of your top priorities. Inspections will help you make sure that small problems do not turn into major ones and that the property is safe and habitable for your tenants. Always make sure that you abide by the rules set forth by your local laws as to how much notice you give before entering for a non-emergency. It's a fine balance between making sure you're available to handle any issues as they pop up and allowing the tenant room to live their lives. If any kind of illegal activity is happening on the property, an inspection can help you catch this as well. Remember, property inspections can save you money even if they take some time out of your day.

Screening tenants is a key way to keep known drug offenders from your home. While not every person that cooks or takes drugs will be in the system, there may be signs to show that they are less than stellar prospects for your property. Check their credit history to make sure that they pay their bills on time and their criminal to protect you, your property, and those around your property. A dangerous tenant can be a serious problem and you don't want to let it get out of hand. While some landlords are more lenient in the kinds of criminal histories that they'll make allowances for, sometimes it's best to err on the side of caution

Check out BiggerPocket's article on how to spot a meth lab so that you might be able to avoid the expensive cleanup afterwards.

POSTED July 08 2014 2:17 PM

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