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How Landlords Can Avoid Tenant Injury Lawsuits

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By Ephrat Livni, Esq. on February 01, 2016 9:59 AM

Your rental property is supposed to make you money every month and this income allows you to do more -- go on vacations, splurge on special occasions, and enjoy the life of the landed gentry. But all that could change if you don't pay attention to conditions on the property and ensure that tenants are safe.

Landlords are sued by tenants and their guests for negligence when injury occurs on a property and there is evidence of owner neglect. To avoid such suits, your best bet is to treat your property like the business it is, insuring it for all eventualities, and being aware of any potentially problematic issues.

Injury Insurance for Landlords

Laws vary from state to state and the details of your rental contract will dictate your specific obligations. But you can be sure that, wherever you are, you will pay if someone is injured on your rental property and it was caused by your neglect.

Depending on local law and the size of your property, or number of tenants, you may have to carry comprehensive property insurance. While expensive, these policies cover damages from injury lawsuits. Even if you are not now obligated to carry insurance, you should still consider coverage for tenant negligence suits.

Don't be too frugal and find yourself paying for the mistake. When someone is seriously injured, damages can really add up. You could be liable for medical expenses, work and earnings lost over a long period or lifetime, and more.

In the most egregious cases of very serious injury or death, you could pay more for your mistake than the property will ever earn. So, if you consider whether insurance -- or just playing close attention to the conditions of your property -- is worth it in that context, making monthly premium payments might not be so bad.

A Landlord's Responsibilities

Although the specifics do vary from state to state, there are some common notions about rental safety and landlord responsibility throughout the country. Landlords have three major duties:

  1. To properly maintain common areas.
  2. To warn of known hidden dangers (and be aware of these).
  3. To make a furnished dwelling safe on short term leases.

If a tenant or guest is injured on your property but your negligence was not the cause, you are not responsible. But that does not mean you won't face a lawsuit or have to fight to prove as much. Should that happen, get in touch with a lawyer immediately.

Consult With Counsel

If you are a tenant and were injured on a rental property, consult with counsel about a potential case. Many injury attorneys consult for free or no fee and will be happy to discuss the details of your claim.

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