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Helping You Navigate Complex Legal Issues

4 legal mistakes every landlord needs to avoid

Gregory A. Lang

Whether you have been leasing properties for decades or only a year or two, it can be easy to slip up and make little mistakes. When it comes to properties and contracts, though, the simplest mistake can become a very costly error. The best way to keep expenses low and maintain your good reputation is to avoid many of the most common legal missteps landlords make, such as these four.

1. Failure to disclose relevant information

Is your property adjacent to a plant that processes chemicals? Have there been any recent deaths on the property? Details like these may not be your first priority, but a tenant may be entitled to know them before moving into one of your properties. Failure to disclose information that may impact a tenant's decision to sign a lease is a serious offense. It is almost always better to provide too much information than too little information.

2. Inclusion of illegal provisions in lease

Some landlords have tried to be sly by sneaking in provisions that violate the rights of their tenants. A lease should never stipulate that its signee loses the right to sue or surrenders their security deposit. Provisions such as these are a clear violation of the rights that are guaranteed to a tenant.

3. Inadequate insurance coverage on property

According to the Insurance Information Institute, properties that are left vacant are often left uninsured, too. If you go for a period of time without a tenant in one of your properties, you might think that there is no risk of damage to buy coverage for. On the contrary, weather and vandalism are just two of the threats that can cause damage to a vacated property. If you do not have adequate insurance coverage during this time, you will be legally liable for the expenses.

4. Failure to keep property safe for use

One of your primary duties as a landlord is to keep your properties safe for whatever use they are intended. If you manage residential units, they should be clean and well maintained. If you manage commercial properties, they should be safe for use, too. You can ensure that this is the case by conducting inspections regularly and being proactive in maintenance.

Landlords face a range of legal pitfalls throughout their work, especially if they are not vigilant in these four areas. If you need legal advice, reaching out to a lawyer can help you navigate some of the issues you may encounter.

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