There are many difficult challenges to face when you are a landlord, one of which is not knowing when a tenant’s negligence could land you in unwanted trouble. During such time they signed the lease; hopefully, your renter agreed to keep your Woodward Park rental home clean and properly maintained and to refrain from illegal activities. The truth is, not all tenants will be faithful to the terms in the lease, and any problems that have started on your property can quickly become problems for you.
Even though you are not considered answerable for the wrong actions that your tenant may be doing, if you find out that your rental home is being used to conduct business, and your owners’ association does not allow this activity, your neighbors could hold you accountable. The outcome of any legal action taken against you will likely depend on two things: how much you knew about the problem (and when), and whether or not you took steps to stop it.
How and When You Knew
Nowadays, more tenants have become masters at hiding shady activities from their landlords. However, if you notice that something is not quite right on your rental property, it is fairly crucial to take necessary actions to fix the issues. In some regions, if your renter does something dangerous or illegal as a result of ongoing activities of which you were aware, you could be held liable in court. For example, if you knew one of your tenants was using your rental home as a daycare and one of your renter’s or their clients hurt someone, themselves, or damaged personal property, the court could be more likely to hold you liable for any damages.
The Slippery Slope of “Should”
There are some situations when you are going to be asked if you “should” have known about a renter’s illicit activities beforehand. In cases like, if you know your tenant is self-employed prior to your offer of a lease, there is some misperception about whether or not that also meant that you should have expected they would be conducting that business in the rental home. Similarly, if your renter had been evicted for loud parties in the past, you may be held accountable since you should have checked with their previous landlord about it. Indeed, if you’ve completed due diligence and didn’t discover any evidence of past wrongdoings, that will boost your chances of avoiding liability.
Addressing the Problem
If there are problems with a renter, the best solution is always to solve it before it becomes big. But now and then, a property owner has a limited capability to fix the issue altogether. If a tenant is creating a nuisance for the neighbors but hasn’t actually broken the terms of the lease, you can’t be held responsible for failing to evict them. To be liable, you ought to have the proper authority to act on it. Of course, the disadvantage is that if your lease makes it clear that you prohibit loud parties or business activities and you don’t work on it, you could be on the hook in a lawsuit.
The specific terms and language used in the lease is an important first step toward holding your tenants accountable for any nuisance or illicit activities. At the same time, taking immediate and appropriate action is also critical to keeping yourself from being sued by angry neighbors. Screening your renters carefully is another essential part of keeping yourself out of unwelcome legal trouble, as is performing regular property evaluations. At Real Property Management Platinum, we do all of this for our Woodward Park property owners – and more. Would you like to learn more? Please contact us online or by phone at 559-324-9400 for more information.
We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.