If you are planning on vacationing this summer, you may want to make money from your property rather than allowing it to sit empty. There are many websites which allow you to rent out your home for months or even just a night.
While home rentals seem simple, however, they might expose you to premises liability claims in Homestead or your community. Tenants can be injured on your property, can stumble onto neighboring property and cause damage there, or can end up causing losses on your property through negligence. If this happens, would you be covered? If a tenant were injured, would you need more insurance than you currently have?
If you do decide rental income is worth the risk, you will want to:
- Review your insurance: Some insurance policies allow you to have short-term tenants while others require you to buy extra coverage for both long-term and short-term tenants. If you only plan on renting your home for short periods of time, consider what is not covered on short-term rental platforms.
- Get legal help: Before renting, talk to legal experts who are familiar with local zoning laws, mortgages, insurance, and other legal issues. Some mortgage terms do not allow tenants while some communities are working to regulate rentals. Ending up on the wrong side of the law can cost you money in penalties, so make sure you understand and follow the rules in your area.
- Consider taxes: Florida’s homestead exemption and other tax rules may help you save money on taxes, but if you rent your property while you are away, your taxes may be affected. Not only will you be making income which you will need to declare but your rental may impact how much you pay in taxes.
- Think about how you will rent: Will you rent yourself or use a property management company? Who will handle cleaning, tenant issues or requests, screening of tenants, and any problems that arise? If you are working with a management company, make sure you are clear about their liability.
- Make sure your property is ready: Walk through your property and ensure the property is safe and in good condition. Look for any protruding objects, uneven floors, and any other dangers. Any hazards which cannot be fixed should be clearly marked. Make sure there is a carbon monoxide detector, smoke detector, fire extinguisher, and other safety devices on hand. Make sure the property is well-lit and all windows and doors are secure.
- Use extra caution if you have a pool: Having a tenant injured in a pool accident or drowning at your Homestead or Florida home is devastating and can also lead to claims against you. If you have a pool, make sure you have coverage in case of any incidents involving tenants and make sure your pool has an alarm, self-locking gate, and a sturdy fence.
If you have been injured while staying at a rental, you may have a claim. To find out, contact Flaxman Law Group at 1-866-352-9626 (1-866-FLAXMAN) for a free consultation with a Homestead premises liability attorney.