Landlords are growing more and more cautious these days, especially with the growing trend of verdicts on premise liability cases leaning against them and the increasing amounts in payoffs. Courts that once were just, keeping balance between landlords and tenants are now favoring tenants in an obvious way, so much so that it is no longer uncommon to see juries award cash amounting to $1,000,000 and in some cases, even more, for damages that happen on a property that is being rented.
This article is designed to provide you with some handy tips that could possibly help landlords escape such expensive payments, but before we jump into that, let us first take a look at what exactly is a premise liability. If you are a landlord and you thought that premise liability merely dealt with injuries suffered from falling down the stairs or a slippery sidewalk, read up as this might save you a lot of money!
Premise liability claims pertain to a whole array of hazards that have the potential to cause harm to any tenants. It is thus a landlord’s responsibility to keep tenants away from harm by making sure the property is kept in a good-enough state. To guarantee tenants’ safety, a great deal of awareness and attention to detail is required of landlords, who must always be on the look-out for any and all situations where tenants are likely to suffer injuries.
How to Best Avoid Any Liability Claims
1) Proper Tenant Screening
The best way for landlords to make certain of the people that are living on the rental property is to conduct proper tenant screening. Appropriate tenant background checks, including criminal background checks, credit reports and references from previous landlords and employers can considerably lessen the chances of a landlord being held liable for any grievances that may be caused by the tenant.
2) Consistently Inspect the Property
In order to be doubly sure of a rental property’s state and the safety of the tenants, a landlord must consistently inspect every inch of it, paying particular attention to the exterior, the units inside and areas that the tenants share such as the parking area, walkways, and hallways. Also make sure to check the windows, the storage area as well as the landscaping.
Landlords can also refer to this list of items that need to be checked:
• The lighting outside
• Harmful chemicals
• Electrical dangers
• Unwanted guests
• Smoke alarms
• Old tree branches
3) Pay Attention to Complaints Made by Tenants
Your tenants could be your best bet at avoiding any liability claims. And that is why you should always pay close attention to any complaints that you hear from them. Whether it is poor lighting at the parking area or a loose bolt, you should listen to their gripes and more importantly, immediately act on these.
Failure to do so might just result in injuries to tenants and a huge bill for you as a landlord, which may not be picked up by the insurance company.
4) Inform Your Tenants
You should make sure to use the lease agreement to your advantage. After all, it can help in lessening premise liability. You can try and place stipulations that restrict the presence of guests that have not been vetted as well as ban harmful conduct such as using pesticides, smoking, the disabling of smoke alarms, using candles, storage of dangerous things, etc., a landlord can greatly lessen the chances of harm to tenants
This post is provided by Verify Tenant, helping landlords and property managers reduce the risks of renting with fraud prevention tools that include Tenant Screening, Tenant Background Checks, (U.S. ,Canada and International), as well as Criminal Background Checks, and Eviction Reports (U.S. only).