As a landlord, you have a legal responsibility to ensure your rental properties are safe and livable. If not, you could be open to consequences, such as lawsuits. If you are a landlord and are facing property repairs, here is what you need to know.
What Can Happen If You Fail to Make Repairs?
Ideally, you will make repairs as soon as possible to avoid any consequences. However, if you fail to do so, your tenants can pursue legal remedies to settle the situation. Depending on your state's laws, a tenant could withhold rent, break the lease, file a lawsuit, or deduct the cost of the repairs from your rent payment.
There are guidelines that dictate when a tenant can exercise these options. For instance, your state's laws might require the tenant to send a notarized letter to you detailing the needed repairs before he or she can pay for the repairs and deduct the amount from rent.
What Can You Do?
The most obvious answer to avoid legal consequences is to make the repairs when you are notified. However, there are things that you can do above and beyond that to ensure the property is safe and livable.
For instance, ensure that your tenants are aware of their obligations to the property. Obligations can include keeping the property clean, notifying you immediately of issues, and disposing of waste properly. Many of these are legal obligations. Review your state's laws to learn what the remaining obligations are.
You can also inspect the properties on an annual basis. During the inspection, you need to look for potential hazards and damages that need to be repaired. Check your state's laws to determine how much advance notification you need to give the tenants before conducting the inspection.
In addition to these steps, you need to become familiar with the housing codes. By knowing the housing codes, you can learn what you are and are not responsible for when it comes to repairs.
One final step you can consider is contracting with a property management company. The service will be responsible for all of the above tasks, but also additional tasks, such as collecting rent payments and processing evictions, if necessary. The use of a property management service frees up your time to focus on other matters.
Maintaining your property is not only beneficial to your tenants, but also to you. You can reduce the need to repair items in the home with regular and preventative maintenance.Share