As a landlord, are you responsible for what your renters do in your home?
Many landlords are naturally concerned about who they lease their properties to. Others aren’t that worried, providing the rent comes in consistently. However, there can be more to being a landlord than just finding a tenant who you think can pay the rent. Recent court cases have shown that renters can have an impact on financial liability, and even ownership rights and title to real estate. Here are just some of the factors to keep an eye on.
You may not always be able to control your renters’ pets, or even if they have them. Yet, landlords can be held responsible, or at least taken to court if others are injured by a tenant’s pet. Although pet friendly rentals are trending, you may want to watch who you rent to, what language is in your lease when it comes to pets and liability, that renters have insurance to cover this themselves, and that fences and gates are secure as possible.
While residents are certainly responsible for their own actions, there can be cases in which their activities fall back on property owners. If there is criminal activity, repeated complaints to the police, or there are cases of animal neglect happening at one of your homes, you can expect to be contacted by law enforcement. In some worst case scenarios landlords could find their properties subject to seizure or condemnation. That can bring huge losses for real estate investors.
Tenants have a direct impact on property maintenance. Clear disregard for basic maintenance and safety can fall back on the landlord. A lack of reporting basic issues can lead to deferred maintenance and more expensive repairs and replacements later on. Landlords and tenants should be clear on responsibilities in the lease agreement, and the remedies for breach of contract.
People do need a chance. It is a great privilege to be a property owner and landlord, and to be able to give people shelter and new opportunities. However, whether taking over a tenant occupied property, or signing new leases; landlords cannot assume they are free from liability for their renters’ actions. There is still some legal responsibility for maintenance and public safety. Know what these factors are, have them covered in your rental agreements.