You can avoid many problems by maintaining the property in excellent condition. Here's how:
Also, your commitment to repair and maintenance procedures should be clearly set out in the lease or rental agreement.
A well-designed property insurance policy can protect a landlord's rental property from losses caused by many perils, including fire, storms, burglary, and vandalism. (Earthquake and flood insurance are typically insured under separate policies.)
A comprehensive general liability ("CGL") policy provides liability insurance, covering injuries or losses suffered by others as the result of defective conditions on the property. Equally important, liability insurance covers the cost (mostly lawyers' bills) of defending personal injury lawsuits.
Here are some tips on choosing insurance:
If you need more information, The Legal Guide for Starting & Running a Small Business, by Fred S. Steingold (Nolo), contains a detailed discussion of small business law, including how to insure your rental property.
To be held responsible for an injury on the premises, the landlord or property manager must have been negligent in maintaining the property, and that negligence must have caused the injury. All of the following must be proven for a landlord to be held liable:
For example, if a tenant falls and breaks his ankle on a broken front door step, the landlord will be liable if the tenant can show all of the following:
A tenant can file a personal injury lawsuit or claim against the landlord's insurance company for medical bills, lost earnings, pain and other physical suffering, permanent physical disability and disfigurement, and emotional distress. A tenant can also sue for damage to personal property, such as a stereo or car, that results from faulty maintenance or unsafe conditions.