One of the main concerns as a landlord is the fear of being sued by the tenant. “Can I be sued for this?” is the most frequent question landlords ask attorneys. However, while any tenant can file a lawsuit against any landlord for any reason, this does not mean that the landlord cannot win the case. It depends on the steps taken by the landlord to reduce his liability or to remedy the situation when they arise. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce your potential liabilities as a landlord, and which does not require a great deal of money. This will also help protect your investment in your property. Here are 5 ways a landlord can reduce his potential liabilities:
- Keep the Property in “Habitable” Condition
This falls under the legal rule known as the “implied warranty of habitability”. This requires every landlord to keep their properties in a “habitable” state. This will protect your investment and lower the risk of injury to your tenants by making sure that your property is properly inspected and anything that might be considered hazardous, repaired.
- Document Everything
Establish the habit of documenting your anything you do, problems with the property you have fixed, processing of security deposits and rent payment etc. This shows that you have fulfilled all your duty as a landlord in accordance with the law, it will be difficult for any tenant to have anything against you.
- Prepare for the “Rainy Day”
Disasters are unpreventable, most times they are out of our control. However, there steps you can take to recover and protect your business when a disaster occurs: have an emergency fund, backup your computer files away from your workplace, store all the important files in a fire-proof vault somewhere away from your office, equip your office and your properties with fire extinguishers, put emergency exit signs up etc.
- Screen Your Tenant Thoroughly
One way to do this is to look at your tenant’s rent history. This way you can find out if he has faulted or file any law suits against any previous landlords. Also make sure every applicant obtains a reference from prior landlords.
- Get the Right Insurance
Insurances can be a little bit frustrating as they are considered costs most of the time. But who can tell what the future holds, insurances might be your only way out during emergencies. Therefore, make sure you cover every rental property you have, and your business, with the right insurance.