In southern Florida, Hollywood, Miami, and other parts of the region, many residents choose to rent a property some or all of the time. It is a simple way to create a passive income and get the most of a property you may not be using. If you are renting a property, however, keep in mind you are responsible for the tenant’s safety you may be held liable if a tenant or guest is injured on the property.
To keep your risk low and to ensure your attendance and guests are as safe as possible, follow these tips:
1) Schedule maintenance checks. Create a checklist for checking the property over carefully. This may include checking deadbolts and locks, entryways, lighting, and other parts of common areas. Conduct and record maintenance checks regularly, noting the time, date, and other details of the maintenance check. If you are ever the defendant in a premises liability claim in Hollywood or your community, having proof that you take reasonable care of your property can help you.
2) Make sure your rental agreement protects you. Always have a Hollywood premises liability attorney review your rental agreement before you start renting. Make sure that the language in the contract protects you as fully as possible.
3) Hire someone to care for your property. If you travel often or don’t have a lot of experience with rental properties, hire someone to take care of maintenance tasks and everyday management. Make sure that this person is trustworthy. While you will still be ultimately responsible for the state of your property, having someone on hand who can be reached easily and can handle most tasks can ensure maintenance is completed in a timely fashion.
4) Ask tenants, repeatedly and in writing, to inform you of any issues. You cannot know about the state of a unit that’s being rented unless you’re looking only at common areas. Even then, you may not be told about a problem or issue until your next maintenance check. Emphasize to your renters that they should inform you of any maintenance issues so you can fix them promptly.
5) Take care of maintenance tasks quickly. If you are told about a maintenance issue, correct it as fast as possible. Keep the receipts from the person who has fixed the issue, if possible. It is easier to handle requests quickly if you have a system for incoming requests. For example, get tenants to text you or send you an e-mail and set up your phone or e-mail system to mark such e-mails as important so you won’t lose them. You don’t want to be in a situation where an important e-mail about a safety issue didn’t get to you, causing you to not make the needed repairs.
6) Follow-up on maintenance tasks. Even if you have hired someone to take care of the maintenance issue which a tenant has reported, make sure you follow up with both the tenant and the person you hired to take care of the issue. Whether it’s a plumbing problem, broken lock, or other difficulty, make sure it was resolved to everyone’s satisfaction.
7) Take extra care with children. With most premises liability claims, reasonable care is an adequate defense. As long as an owner takes adequate care to prevent injury, he or she may be protected. However, with children, landlords have an added duty of care. If you rent to families or to people who have children coming over as guests regularly, you’ll need to take extra care to make sure that any higher risk areas, such as pools, are secured and safe.
If you have been injured in a premises liability claim or have been injured due to someone’s negligence, contact Flaxman Law Group for a free consultation.