As a landlord, you not only open yourself up to a world of new income possibilities, but you also open yourself up to a great deal of liability. It’s important to take time to consider what liability issues could potentially come your way. Be proactive about taking steps to protect yourself against them.
Ensure Your Property Is Up to Code
The most important thing to do is make sure your property is in good condition. This includes meeting all building codes. You must comply with an “implied warrant of habitability”. This essentially means that you must ensure that your property is fit and habitable from the time your tenants move in to the time they leave. There should be no issues with the property that could potentially cause your tenants to become injured or ill. Nor should there be issues with the property that prevent it from being habitable. Some examples include a lack of running water or heat.
Ensure Your Property Is Equal Opportunity
Consider taking steps to make sure your housing is equal opportunity. This includes outfitting it for individuals with disabilities and mobility issues. Check the Fair Housing Act’s requirements, such as those designed for building and construction. You may need to modify your property to meet diverse needs. But, in the end, it will pay off by opening your property up to a wider array of tenants. It also prevents you from any discrimination lawsuits.
Prepare for Emergencies
Any digital storage of rental agreements, contracts, and other important paperwork must be safeguarded. Regularly back them up in the event of an emergency. Store paper files in an offsite fireproof safe. Additionally, prepare a sound evacuation plan that takes your unique property into account. Therefore, make sure your tenants have a way to get to safety. Additionally, make sure you have funds put back for any emergency repairs you need to do. Repairs could be simple, like a pipe burst. But they could also be major, like after a natural disaster. Be prepared either way.
Contact the Law Office of Steve Taylor
Identifying and understanding potential liabilities and protecting yourself from them isn’t always easy. Having someone on your side to support you in your real estate endeavors and provide guidance when needed is invaluable. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation at 1-305-433-0497.