At this point in your landlord career, you probably already have everything covered like your outstanding screening service, your solid lease, and your awesome occupancy rate for all your rental properties. Congrats! You’re at a point where thousands of landlords want to be. Now that we have a little time to take a breather, you could take a minute to really go in depth into your insurance policies. Are they what you need for your specific needs? Do they cover the total value of your assets? Those are some things to consider, as well as the following 1,2, 3’s about insurance.
Do you know as a landlord when you will be held responsible in the unfortunate case where one of your tenants or their visitors suddenly becomes injured on your premises? In a short answer, the only way you could be held liable for their injury is if you have been negligent on maintaining the property and that your negligence directly caused the injury. With that being said, here are some things that must be proven by the injured party:
- The landlord was responsible for maintaining the area where the injury happened (and caused it)
- The landlord didn’t take any steps to avoid the accident
- Making repairs to the area wouldn’t have been really expensive or difficult
- The injury caused was the consequence of the landlord not fixing the area
- The landlords negligence caused the accident
- The tenant or their visitor is genuinely injured
Let’s consider a real life example. Let’s say one of your tenant’s visitors trips in the hall way because the carpet was pulled up, causing a danger for someone to trip. The visitor ended up breaking his arm on the fall, and was unable to work for next 6 months. About 3 months ago, one of your tenants complained about the pulled up carpet, but you just haven’t gotten around to fixing it. All of your other tenants have gotten used to the danger area and just step over it, or avoid it all together. Let’s analyze the points above to this specific case.
- The hallway is considered a common area on the grounds, so yes, the landlord was responsible for the area where the injury happened
- The landlord failed to take care of the issue, even after the tenants told him months ago
- Fixing part of a pulled up carpet costs next to nothing, and very easy to fix
- The visitor could probably prove that he tripped on the pulled up carpet
- You had 4 months to fix it
- He broke his arm, it’s in a cast and has been unable to work for 6 months
In this case, if the tenant’s visitor files a personal injury lawsuit, it’s most likely they will win the case and the landlord’s insurance will be responsible for medical bills, lost earnings, pain and other physical and emotional pain.
So we learned our lesson, and we don’t ever want to go through that again. What can you do as a landlord to minimize your liability and chance of getting sued again? Here are some pointers on the measures you can take.
- Have a thorough checklist of areas that need routine maintenance
- Have a portal or a way for your tenants to immediately report safety or security problems whether in the unit or in common areas
- Keep a log of all open and pending tenant complaints and detail how and when you will take care of the issues
- Establish an Urgent Repair policy to take care of certain repair requests within 24 hours
- Once a year, hand your tenants a checklist to check and report safety hazards or maintenance problems
Overall, the most important thing to remember is your commitment to maintaining safe living conditions for your
Your insurance policy
Having a good insurance policy can protect a landlord’s assets from losses caused by many factors which include fire, storms, burglary and vandalism. Most of the time, natural disaster policies are insured separately such as earthquake and flood insurance.
A thorough general liability policy provides you with coverage on injuries or losses suffered by others as the result of defective conditions on the property. This should also cover for all of the legal costs of defending personal injury lawsuits, which are for the most part lawyer bills.
Here are some additional tips when choosing the right insurance policy for you:
- Make sure it covers the total value of your assets
- Good idea to have your coverage also cover libel, slander, discrimination, unlawful and retaliatory eviction, and invasion of privacy suffered by tenants and visitors
- Make sure to have liability insurance for all business related vehicles such as manager’s car, or trucks if it is used for the job
At Fast Eviction Service, help on any of the issues discussed in this article is simply a click or phone call away. Email email@example.com or call our office at (800) 686-8686 to discuss your questions for a free evaluation of your case.
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