Here are some of the most frequently asked questions regarding landlord responsibilities when it comes to protecting their tenants from criminals and other tenants.
What responsibilities does a landlord have for the tenants' safety and security?
In most states and jurisdictions, landlord responsibilities cover, at least to some degree, protection of their tenants. This protection responsibility may impose a legal duty on the landlord to take steps to protect their tenants from thieves, assailants and criminal acts from other tenants.
In addition to this responsibility to the tenants, landlords may also be partially responsible for protecting the surrounding community from criminal acts of the tenants. For example, some states have codes and statutes that impose liability on landlords for renting property to drug dealers.
In increasing numbers, landlords are being brought to court by tenants that have been injured by criminals while in their rental properties. Settlements from these cases often reach into the millions of dollars, especially when a similar assault or crime occurred on the same rental property in the past.
Are there ways that a landlord can limit his/her responsibility for the criminal acts of others that are not tenants?
Yes, there are steps that a landlord can take that will not only lessen the chances of a crime being committed on the rental property, but will also provide a benefit to the landlord in the form of a lessened chance of being held liable for crime being committed against their tenants. Landlords should adhere to the following:
Even if some of these measures may seem to be overly expensive, keep in mind that any dollar that spent now may save thousands of dollars in the future. Jury awards and litigation settlements for crimes such as assault and rape inside of a rental property can cost landlords hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, landlords should be very carefully and deliberate when it comes to choosing a property manager. The property manager is the person that will have the most interaction with the tenants and also has keys to most of the rental units. Landlords should perform scrupulous background checks on any and all potential property mangers and choose the one that is best suited for the job. If a property manager commits a crime against a tenant, the landlord will most likely be responsible for the acts of the property manger and can expect to be sued for a large amount of money.
Can landlords face legal trouble for tenants that deal drugs on the rental property?
Yes. If a landlord rents to a person that deals drugs out of their rental property, the landlord may face one or more of the following kinds of practical and legal problems:
Are there ways that a landlord can limit his/her responsibility for tenants that deal drugs while on the rental property?
There are a number of steps that a landlord can take to limit any potential liability that could be caused by criminal tenants, including:
Learn More About Your Legal Needs as Landlord with a Free Evaluation
As a landlord, you certainly don't want your tenants engaging in illegal activities on your property, especially if they cause a disturbance with other tenants or the surrounding neighborhood. If you have questions about your rights and responsibilities with respect to a tenant who you believe is involved in illegal activity, you should speak with a real estate lawyer. Get a free legal evaluation of your issues today.