Five Things You Should Know About Landlord Liability and Exposure

Photo: Landlord Handing Keys to Tenant

One of the benefits of renting a home rather than purchasing a home is passing liability off to a landlord. If something breaks or stops working or needs replacing, the tenant is not responsible financially for those types of issues. Of course, landlords take on a lot more liability than just the occasional leaky faucet or faulty air conditioner. There are a number of liabilities that can seriously expose property owners, making it absolutely essential that they have proper landlord insurance and apartment building insurance to provide for these exposures.

Here are a few landlord liability issues property owners should know about:

Poorly-Behaved Tenants

While a landlord can’t take full responsibility for the poor behavior of tenants, the law does dictate that landlords maintain at least some control over what happens in their buildings. If tenants are, for example, participating in illegal activities on your property, or if they are creating an ongoing nuisance for other tenants or the neighborhood in general, you may need to consider evicting the offending parties. Otherwise, you could be liable for any fallout from that illegal/obnoxious behavior.

Natural Disasters

Most landlord insurance policies cover the types of natural disasters that most often befall a property, including fire, rain, wind, and hail, but other types of natural disasters may require additional insurance policies. Depending on where you live, earthquake or flood insurance may be an essential purchase to protect your building and the tenants that live there.

Vehicle Liability

Many landlords don’t consider vehicle liability insurance policies among their most important investments, but any vehicle used for your business—either by you or by agents and employees—needs vehicle liability insurance. These vehicles technically are part of your business, so ensuring they are protected in similar ways as your buildings can be important. You want to close off as many liabilities as possible with your insurance investments.

Environmental Toxins

Whether it’s carbon monoxide or mold, tenants don’t always need to prove negligence by their landlord to open up a claim. All tenants have to prove is that the landlord knew (or should have known) about any of a number of dangerous situations or toxins and either failed to repair it or didn’t give appropriate warning of its existence. Inspections are important, but insurance policies that protect you from these types of claims are equally important.

Dogs

There is a reason that many landlords do not allow pets in their buildings, and it has everything to do with the liability that comes with just a single animal causing harm to another tenant. Most pets aren’t dangerous, but you need to protect yourself from the ones that are, either through a no-pet policy or property liability insurance that covers all the bases.

Consider your Insurance Options

If you have any questions about landlord liability or about the types of landlord insurance you need to minimize your risk in any of these instances, give us a call here at Insurance by Castle so we can make sure you’re covered the way you should be. We work to serve property owners so none of these problems ruin these important rental revenue streams. Sometimes, it really is just a matter of having the right insurance.