A.D. Cantelmo Property Management
Our Business is Property Management in Orange County California
How to minimize Landlord Liability
Every Landlord has their liability problems in the back of
their mind and anyone who is thinking about getting into the Landlord business
should take some time and understand what types of liability problems could pop
Let’s take at some of the Liability issues that could come
up, and the best ways to avoid them.
The best way to avoid many of the issues that lead to
liability payouts is for a Landlord or their Agent, to inspect the property on
a continuous schedule. Finding things that need to be dealt with can allow you to
correct problems that can lead to issues in the future. Now in California we
need to inspect smoke alarms and c/o detectors two times per year and those
inspections should also allow the Landlord to go over other issues in the
property with the Tenant, without being accused of intruding on the Tenants
privacy. Many Landlords make the mistake of thinking that they can access the
property at any time, but that is just not true and you need to be very careful
to allow the Tenant their privacy rights.
If a Tenant gets injured on the property, and they can show
that the Landlords negligence caused the injury then the Landlord can be held
responsible. This goes back to inspecting the property and also goes back to
what I wrote about in my last blog, “My Tenant want to do some work on the home”.
You have to be very careful about allowing Tenants to do anything on the
property that is out of the norm. If a Tenant complains about something that
needs to be fixed, then you need to respond quickly and keep track of the complaints
and the response.
As a Real Estate broker in California, it is drilled into
you from day one that you will not have a license for long if you show any bias
or you discriminate for any reason and a Landlord needs to follow the same rule.
When you are dealing with Tenants or potential Tenants, treat everyone the same
and you will be in good standing
Libel and Slander
No matter how angry you get, do not insult in words or your
writing your Tenants. You always need to handle things professionally. Now that
everyone is on social media, you need to remember that if you say something
that can lead back to a Tenant, you can be held responsible. Never put anything on social media about your Tenants unless it puts them in a good light and you get their permission.
Again, going back to the inspections of the property, a
landlord needs to be vigilant in keeping the property safe and that includes
security for the Tenants. If you are getting complaints from Tenants about security,
you should contact the local law enforcement and get information on how to help
the Tenants feel safe. A Landlord has no control over what is going on with
crime around the property, but if an effort is made to give Tenants the tools
and information they need to be more secure, then you are doing your best. Also
if a Tenant wants to leave due to safety concerns, then you should allow them
to do so, even if they need to break their lease.
Some Landlords do not allow pets, fearing that if a dog
injures someone then they will be held responsible. This comes down to the “Should
have known” principle. If a Landlord should have known that a pet could be
dangerous, or the Landlord has some control over the pet, then they could be
held responsible. Just renting a property to a dog owner, does not assert
liability to the Landlord.
If a Landlord gets complaints about a Tenant from others who
live on the property, then you need to take those complaints seriously and
address them. If you just ignore the complaints and it leads to problems, then
the Landlord could be held responsible.
These are some ways that Landlords can have exposure to
liability issues and I’m sure that many more can pop up, but if a landlord
stays vigilant, they can minimize the problems. A Landlord should think about
liability, like an athlete thinks about injury., if they are worried about
getting injured, they will, but if they don’t worry about it, but do all the right things to help avoid
injury then they are less likely to get injured. If a Landlord does all the
right things to avoid problems, it will not mean that problems won’t arise, but
they will be less likely. A Landlord should spend less time worrying and more time correcting.
A.D. Cantelmo Property
Management Specializes in Property Management in Orange County