Though being a landlord is often a rewarding and lucrative venture, it’s also subject to its own set of challenges and obstacles.
If you’re currently a landlord or thinking of becoming one, it’s important to understand the full scope of requirements and responsibilities you may be faced with.
Here are some of the top landlord liability issues to look out for:
1. Preventing Tenant Injury
As a landlord, you have a duty to prevent injury to tenants and occupants on your rental property. If the landlord is found to be negligent in protecting the tenant’s right to safety, he or she could be found liable for the costs associated with any injuries obtained by the tenant.
2. Providing Safe Housing
Along with preventing injury, the landlord has a responsibility to provide safe housing. If a landlord is found to have known something was dangerous and failed to rectify these conditions, then the landlord will be liable for any resulting damages or injuries to the tenant. These issues can be addressed by performing regular inspections and rectifying dangerous or unsafe conditions immediately.
3. Covering the Value of Your Property Through Insurance
In the event of floods and earthquakes, you want to ensure that the total value of your building is covered by insurance costs as it pertains to your income. Many standard insurance policies don’t cover such events and so it’s important to make sure your specific insurance policy covers the actual value of your property.
4. Avoiding Anti-Discrimination Liability
Landlords are legally required to uphold anti-discrimination laws regarding race, religion and more. If landlords make leasing decisions based on criteria found to be discriminatory there can be liability concerns associated with this.
5. Assuming Responsibility for Bad Behavior Tenants
An increasingly common liability issue that landlords should be on the lookout for is their responsibility for the behavior of other tenants. If one tenant’s obnoxious or unlawful behavior is impacting the livability of others tenants, then the landlord must take corrective actions including evicting the offender if necessary. This is especially true if the bad behavior tenant’s actions are impacting the safety and security of other tenants.
6. Making Legal Disclosures
As a landlord, if you do not disclose certain health or safety issues to tenants ahead of time, then you can be liable for any damages that may result to the tenant. This includes disclosing the presence of lead-based paint on the property as a potential risk to the tenant’s health.
7. Maintaining Tax Records
Failing to maintain appropriate tax records can put your business as a landlord in jeopardy. By not following proper tax and business rules, some of the rights you would hold as a landlord could be voided if you do not comply with federal and state tax regulations.
Though being a landlord comes with its fair share of legal responsibilities it is also an important role to take on. Be sure to familiarize yourself with Florida’s state laws regarding tenancy, rent pricing, security deposits, eviction and tenancy termination procedures and more.
A property management company, like The Realty Medics can help to set you up for success as a landlord. Check out our full range of property management services to learn how The Realty Medics can professionally manage your investment property.