As a landlord, while you may not be held liable for every crime that is committed on your property, you have a duty to ensure that the premises are reasonably safe. Failure to take steps to ensure that your tenants are safe will increase the likelihood of you getting sued and being found liable by a court of law. The following are some of the things that you can do to minimize your liability.
Comply with all local and state requirements
Most state and local authorities provide guidelines as far as rental property is concerned. They provide for things like ensuring that a rental apartment has window locks and that its doors have deadbolt locks. Some jurisdictions even have provisions as to lighting recommendations of the place.
If you fail to comply with these provisions, you will be in breach of your duty as a landlord. As a result, it will be easy for a court of law to find you partly liable for any security incidents that might lead to injury or property damage. Simply ensuring that your property is up-to-date as far as security features is concerned will absolve you from any gross negligence charge, something that will go a long way towards protecting your from liability.
Educate your tenants
If your have security systems installed, it is important to ensure that your tenants know of them. You should also make sure that they know how to use alarm systems and any other special security features. This is because simply having security systems is not enough. Ensuring that whichever measures you have put in place are effective at making your property safe is what really counts.
Conduct orientation programs for new tenants. Pinning security feature guides on an easy-to-access board will also make it easier for your tenants to familiarize themselves with existing security systems. This will demonstrate that you went out of your way to ensure the usability of installed systems, something that will come in handy when mounting a defense in court.
Carry out a realistic assessment of the security situation
Having a professional, such as with National Property Management Group, carry out a realistic assessment of the state of security in your area is important. This is because it will enable you to give the appropriate disclosures to your tenant. It will allow you to give your tenants a realistic picture, something that will allow them to appreciate the risks that they are signing up for. It will therefore minimize the risks of getting sued as a result of misrepresenting the security situation in the area.