Being a landlord carries a lot of important legal responsibilities. Property owners need to recognize some of the most significant liability issues involved in rental agreements and take decisive measures to mitigate their risk exposure.
Maintain the Premises in Safe Condition
In typical residential leases, the landlord has an affirmative duty to keep the property in good condition. A comprehensive maintenance program can proactively prevent problems.
If lessees report an unsafe condition or an urgent maintenance need that makes a unit uninhabitable, lessors must take remedial measures in a timely manner. A state or municipality may have regulations governing the time in which a landlord must respond to a written maintenance request. Noncompliance could lead to regulatory fines or rent abatements.
Make Buildings Secure
Neglecting building security can result in serious personal injury or property damage. While landlords are not directly responsible for the criminal acts of a third party, not taking reasonable measures to keep a property secure could create landlord liability for a third-party criminal act.
Lastly, it is worth noting that landlords must familiarize themselves with the laws in their jurisdiction governing landlord-tenant relationships. An illegal eviction, improper storage of a tenant’s property, or the mishandling of a security deposit could result in substantial liability.