On a landlord’s perspective, it can sometimes be tricky to recognize when a tenant’s negligence possibly will land you in hot water. When they signed the lease, hopefully, your renter agreed to keep your Laurel rental home clean and properly maintained and to refrain from illegal activities. The reality is, not all tenants will follow the terms in the lease, and hitches that began on the property can rapidly become problems for you.
Even though you are not considered liable for the unlawful doings that your tenant has committed, 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 result of whatever legal action that is filed towards you will be contingent 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
There are times when tenants have developed into somebody who is so good at hiding shady activities from their landlords. Nevertheless, if you do find out that there is something that is going on that is not good on your rental property, it is crucial that you take measures immediately to take care of 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 instances when the question of whether or not you “should” have an idea about a renter’s illicit activities may be brought up. For example, if you know your tenant is self-employed ere your offer of a lease, there is some misperception about whether or not that means that you should have expected they would be doing that business in the rental home. Likewise, 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. Naturally, if you’ve completed due diligence and didn’t find any evidence of prior complications, that will increase your odds of avoiding liability.
Addressing the Problem
One of the more proactive ways to address any problem is to solve a renter issue as soon as you find out about it. Often though, a property owner has a limited capability to settle the issue totally. 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 must have the power actually to do something about the issue. Certainly, the downside is that if your lease clearly states that loud parties or business activities are prohibited and you don’t take any action, 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. Simultaneously taking instant and proper 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 unwanted legal woes, as is carrying out consistent property assessments. At Real Property Management Metro, we do all of this for our Laurel property owners – and more. Would you like to learn more? Please contact us online or by phone at 443-718-9832 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.