Posted on: 10 August 2017Share
If you own rental properties, you may not think that having an experienced attorney is a necessary part of the property rental experience. Unfortunately, landlords open themselves up to potential lawsuits when renting out homes or apartments to tenants.
Here are three common reasons why landlords are sued. Being familiar with these types of lawsuits will help you see the importance of working with an attorney throughout the rental process.
1. Major Property Damage
When tenants move into your rental properties, you enter into a contract. They agree to pay you rent, and you agree to maintain the property so that it provides a safe and comfortable living environment. If a major disaster (like a burst pipe or a roof collapse) occurs in one of your rental properties, a tenant may file a lawsuit against you for major property damage.
Having an attorney available to guide you through the lawsuit process will help you prove that you provided adequate maintenance and should not be held financially responsible for damage to a tenant's belongings.
2. Illegal Discrimination
Finding the best possible tenants to fill your rental properties is important when it comes to ensuring you are paid on time and that your properties are taken care of by the people living in them. Most landlords have a process in place for screening potential tenants, but this screening process requires that you adhere to certain legal standards.
A tenant can be refused a property based on inadequate income or a poor credit rating, but not for their race, gender, or sexual preferences. Even if you have denied a potential tenant for legitimate reasons, the scorned party may choose to sue you for illegal discrimination. An experienced attorney will be able to help you prove that your denial was legally valid, giving you the ability to avoid fines and penalties in the future.
3. Personal Injury
A tenant may file a personal injury lawsuit against a landlord if the tenant feels the landlord's carelessness resulted in serious injury or illness. Personal injury cases can be expensive, and the settlement awarded if a tenant wins can be significant.
Hiring an attorney will help you establish that you did not breach your duty of care when maintaining your rental property. This will allow you to avoid being penalized as a result of a tenant's injury or illness.
Recognizing the legal problems that can potentially plague landlords will help you see the importance of partnering with an experienced attorney throughout the rental process to help you avoid making mistakes that could have legal consequences in the future. To learn more, talk to real-estate attorneys like Steve Butcher Sr.