If you’re an apartment owner, you know one of the smartest, safest things you can do for yourself is get insurance for your investment. However, once you’ve gotten apartment insurance, that doesn’t mean that you can just rest easy. You’ve completed an important first step, but there are still other things you can do to protect yourself, your investment and even your tenants.
Make Sure Workers Have Their Own Insurance
Things are going to break down at some point, that’s just the nature of wear and tear for some aspects of a building, like plumbing, heating or air conditioning. As the property owner, it’s your responsibility to ensure the building is maintained for the comfort and safety of your tenants. The most expedient way to do this is to hire experts like plumbers or electricians to address the problem.
However, it’s important to make sure you hire professionals with their own insurance. Otherwise, if an accident occurs while working, such as an electrical short, or plumbing incident that damages an apartment, your insurance will be “on the hook” for this if the workers aren’t insured. Conversely, if a worker sustains an injury while on the job, if they have no workers compensation to protect them, and the financial responsibility may fall on you.
Maintain Your Property
A good looking, well-maintained property isn’t just attractive to potential tenants; it’s also a sign of confidence to some insurance providers. A well-maintained property has a lot of aesthetic appeal, but that same maintenance also shows responsible stewardship and taking landlord duties seriously.
If your property meets certain criteria for good maintenance, such as good outdoor lighting, fencing, balcony railing and/or handrails that are compliant with city code, and parking areas or public access walkways that have no visible defects like potholes, or uneven surfaces, you may qualify for better rates. When insurers see this kind of effort put into a property, they realize there is a statistically lower chance of accidents and mishaps, and reward such diligence when it comes time to actually negotiate an insurance plan.
Make Sure Your Lease Is Comprehensive
The lease or rental agreement you strike with a tenant isn’t just about agreeing to a payment plan in exchange for a place to live. It is also a contract that lays out exactly what kind of tenant/landlord rights and responsibilities each party is expected to bear. If you’re careful with your document, this can also include insurance responsibilities, which can be very important if you want to protect yourself from a potential, unplanned insurance claim that isn’t directly your fault.
For example, if you don’t have a requirement in your lease stating that any problems should be immediately reported so repairs can be conducted, you leave yourself vulnerable. A wiring problem that you weren’t aware of that a previous tenant failed to mention could affect a new tenant, causing a fire or damage, and it would be your financial responsibility if it later comes out this was a longstanding problem that was left unaddressed.
You should always know what kind of rights both you and your tenants have. Then you should make sure you have the appropriate apartment owners insurance. If you’d like to know more, just contact us with any questions you may have. Contact us today for more details at 800.644.6443.
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