Making The Deal Count

Making The Deal Count

4 Ways To Avoid Getting Sued When Leasing Out Your Residential Property

Trix Van Zee

If you purchased a house several years ago that your family has since outgrown, you may be considering leasing home out to tenants rather than putting it up for sale. This can be a good investment because when the home is paid off, the majority of rental income will be yours to keep. However, leasing out your home involves a degree of risk because tenants can potentially sue under premise liability laws.

These laws vary by states, and like other real estate laws, are subject to change every two years as state legislative bodies enact new laws. However, there are steps property owners can take to minimize their risk of being sued no matter where they live. Following are four ways you can minimize your chances of  ending up in court on a premise liability lawsuit.

Create a Physically Sound Home Environment

Naturally, you repair and replace fixtures such as faulty steps, doors, windows, and roofs before handing the keys to a tenant, but also make certain the property's outdoor living space is in good repair. Decks, railings, and porches should be sturdy, free of loose boards, and either crafted from nonslip materials or amended in ways that reduce the possibility of slip-and-fall accidents.

For instance, you can prevent wooden front steps in uncovered doorways from becoming dangerously slick due to rain, snow, or ice by having them covered with an asphalt surface material designed for use under these conditions.

Safeguard the Outdoor Living Space

Many property owners take great pains to make certain their home interiors are free of potential hazards but completely neglect to give their yards the same attention. Even if you don't plan on renting to tenants with children, keep in mind you may be held liable in some jurisdictions if a neighbor child is injured on your property.

Removing broken or weak limbs from trees will help create a safe outdoors space, and you should also make certain your yard is free from poisonous vegetation such as oleander, wisteria, foxglove, and golden chain. outbuildings should be closely inspected for any signs of disrepair that could contribute to an unsafe environment and repaired as needed.

Clear Your Property of All Environmental Hazards

Environmental hazards aren't nearly as easy to spot as physical ones. Lead based paint that's still present on some older construction may cause you to be vulnerable to a lawsuit if anyone in the home becomes ill due to the presence of lead based paint. Other environmental hazards may include mold, asbestos, radon, and carbon monoxide. Before leasing out your home, have a thorough inspection performed by a license professional and eliminate any conditions that may pose environmental hazards to future tenants.

Have a Real Estate Attorney Prepare the Lease

A real estate attorney who is familiar with the local laws can prepare a custom lease designed to protect your interests within the perimeters set by applicable state and municipal laws. For instance, some states limit premise liability if there is a clause in the lease stating that the person who is legally occupying the property as a tenant has a specific degree of responsibility for the safety of those entering the property for any reason. The attorney will also be able to determine if you are in compliance with all state and local regulations -- your chances of being sued will decrease dramatically when you've got all your ducks in a row.

Keep in mind that after your find the right tenant and come to a mutual agreement, providing needed repairs during the course of the tenant's time in the property in a timely fashion is an excellent strategy for staying out of court.


2022© Making The Deal Count
About Me
Making The Deal Count

Have you ever stopped to think about how much money you have invested in your home? Although it might be tempting to overlook that paint job or the fact that the backyard didn't exist when you moved in, the money you spend on your house might matter when you move someday. Unfortunately, all of those careful improvements won't make much of a difference if you don't hire a skilled real estate attorney to protect your assets during the sale of your home. I want to make sure that you get top dollar for your place, which is why I made this blog.