Can a Rental Property Owner Be Responsible For an Accident?

By
Industry Observer

Both tenants and property owners have duties and responsibilities to fulfill. Tenants have to comply with rules and procedures states in their contract, and landlords also have a duty to keep their property in good condition. If a property owner fails to make a property repair and this causes an injury, they could be held liable for it. Learn more about your rights and responsibilities as a renter and a landlord.

What Are Your Rights as a Tenant?

Some of the rights you have as a tenant include:

  • Right to a habitable home. This means that the dwelling’s condition must be safe to live in, with usable utilities, heat, and water. The landlord has the duty to make any necessary repairs to make the dwelling habitable.
  • Right to privacy. If the property owner or manager needs to enter your home, they must give notice before and ask for permission to enter the property. Landlords can’t enter a property without talking to the renter first, this violated their right to privacy.
  • Right to get your security deposit back. When you rent a property, you will be asked for a security deposit to protect the landlord from any damages their property may suffer during your stay. The renter has a right to gain this security deposit back if the property did not suffer any damages. If the landlord uses part of the security deposit to make repairs, they should document the damages that are being repaired with this money.
  • Right to get notice of eviction. If the renter is being evicted for failure to pay rent or another type of breach in the contract, they should get proper notice. A renter should receive notice of their breach and the opportunity to correct it.

Tenant Responsibilities

Just as a property owner has duties, as a tenant you also have responsibilities with the property owner. The main one is paying full rent and on time. One of the most common causes of conflict between tenants and landlords is late or non-payment of rent. If you believe you will be late with your rent, inform your landlord as soon as possible and give them an estimated date when you will be making the payment. If you notice any repairs needed in the property, give your landlord a call. Make sure you are flexible with your schedule so they can come in and do the repairs. If you can’t be at home, be open to having them come in when you are not there. If you wait to inform a property owner or manager about a leak or other repair needed, waiting could make the problem worse and it could take longer to fix it.

What Are Your Legal Duties as a Property Owner?

Renters have the obligation to pay their rent on time, follow rules stated on their contract and keep the property in good condition. However, property owners also have duties and responsibilities with their tenants. The most important one is that they should offer habitable properties and should make repairs when necessary. Especially if they involve running water, heat and air conditioning, floods, electricity, gas, and other important aspects of a home.

A property owner should also repair anything that could cause an accident or an injury. For example, if there is a large crack on a driveway and someone could easily trip on it, this should be fixed to prevent an injury. If you ignore these types of defects on your property, and a tenant or someone else gets hurt, you could be held liable for their injuries through a personal injury claim. These types of claims aim to hold a negligent party responsible for their actions and secure compensation to cover the victim’s damages such as medical bills, lost wages, and others.

It’s best to have open and honest communication with your tenant so that they can inform you as soon as possible about any repairs needed in the property. Work out a schedule with your tenant to get these repairs done as quickly as possible. If the tenant isn’t able to be home during the repairs, ask for their permission to enter the property when they are not there.

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