Landlord Tips: Avoiding Liability Claims

Photo: 2 People Reviewing an Insurance Claim

Owning and running a rental property can be a profitable business, but it also comes with potential complications. Just like with typical home ownership, all sorts of things can go wrong with a property, and it gets even stickier when a landlord has to work with multiple tenants in a building, any of whom could file a liability claim against you at any time.

So how does a property owner avoid facing expensive and potentially ruinous liability claims? The following are a few landlord tips from Insurance by Castle to help ensure a liability claim doesn’t take the wind out of your business’s sails.

#1 Make Sure Your Property is in Safe Condition

In most states, the landlord is the one responsible for making sure a property is safe, so it’s important that a landlord learn the basic legal requirements for safety in their building. If tenants complain about necessary repairs, make sure they get fixed quickly to avoid a safety issue, and if there are potential hazards that could cause an injury, make sure they’re properly marked.

#2 Rid Your Building of Environmental Hazards

While most landlords do an excellent job ridding their property of environmental hazards, the threat of things like carbon monoxide or radon poisoning still exist. Make sure you’ve got radon removal systems and carbon dioxide detectors installed throughout the building, and if there’s even a suspicion of something like lead or asbestos, take immediate steps to remove that threat.

#3 Protect Your Property from Crime

There have been instances where courts have found landlords at least partially liable for crimes that have occurred on their properties because there wasn’t sufficient security to protect tenants from crime. While you can’t necessarily help what neighborhood a property is in, you can comply with local laws regarding safety precautions, and you also can do a thorough job screening potential tenants and building employees.

#4 Follow Best Business Practices

There are some things that good landlords do. They make appropriate disclosures to tenants. They return security deposits. They follow eviction laws. They stay apprised of state and local laws. Doing all of this is the best way to avoid a lawsuit because if you’ve covered all your bases, it becomes increasingly unlikely that a tenant will be able to file a liability claim in the first place.

#5 Invest in the Proper Insurance

Last, but certainly not least, maintaining the right type and amount of insurance on your property is the easiest way to make sure you are covered for the types of liabilities that happen most often and are simply out of your control. An agent at Insurance by Castle can help you make sure the coverage on your property is correct. That includes not only typical property insurance but also landlord insurance and whatever extra liability coverage you may need for your building and location.

If you have any questions about this or just need help assessing your risk management with an eye toward better insurance, give us a call here at Insurance by Castle and we will help ensure those liability claims don’t sink your business.

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