How to Reduce Liability as a Landlord

Unfortunately, there are many reasons a landlord can be dragged into a civil (or even bankruptcy) court, so
here are some suggestions that may help reduce your liability to avoid financial penalties.

Develop a Written Inspection List: A well-constructed list can help you eliminate any problems before the tenant moves in. So list the important items to look out for such as fixtures, wiring, railings, etc.

Create a Safety Notice: This can either be a letter that the tenant can acknowledge receipt of upon moving in or a displayable notice that can be posted in the the common areas of a larger complex. The safety notice should instruct the tenant to immediately notify you of any problems, repairs or concerns with regard to their personal safety.

Document Everything: You need to maintain a file on each tenant and on the property as a whole. Every complaint and its resolution needs to be recorded either on a computer or in writing.

Address Urgent Problems Urgently: If the tenant calls you up and says there is some exposed electrical wiring, don’t wait for the lights to begin to flicker. Take care of it right away – ideally, within 24 hours!

Don’t Discriminate: Fair Housing Laws prohibit landlords from being influenced by a tenant’s race, religion, gender, familial status, disability, medical condition, sexual orientation, or reliance on government benefits.

Ironically, even attorneys find themselves getting sued over the same common problems about which they
regularly lecture their clients. Just do your best and be conscientious not to ignore complaints or problems.

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