It can be quite a challenge to make sure you are a responsible landlord just as it’s difficult to tell when a tenant’s negligence could land you in deep trouble. During the time they signed the lease; hopefully, your renter agreed to keep your McQueeney rental home clean and properly maintained and to refrain from illegal activities. Not all tenants will be honest to the terms in the lease, and things could start to get messy for you before you know it.
The truth is, you are not held culpable for any illegal acts your tenant may be doing, if you find out that your rental home is being used to conduct business, and your owners’ association does not allow this activity, your neighbors could hold you accountable. The consequence of any legal action taken against you will most probably hinge on two things: how much you knew about the problem (and when), and whether or not you took steps to stop it.
How and When You Knew
There are times when tenants are so ingenious at hiding shady activities from their landlords. But, if you do chance upon an issue that is going on your rental property, it is imperative to take steps straightaway to rectify the situation. In some regions, if your renter does something dangerous or illegal as a result of ongoing activities of which you were aware, you could be held liable in court. For example, if you knew one of your tenants was using your rental home as a daycare and one of your renter’s or their clients hurt someone, themselves, or damaged personal property, the court could be more likely to hold you liable for any damages.
The Slippery Slope of “Should”
There are also times when the question of whether or not you “should” have an idea regarding a renter’s illicit activities may arise. For instance, if you know your tenant is self-employed before you propose them a lease, there is some confusion with regards to whether or not that means that you should have known they would be doing that business in the rental home. Correspondingly, if your renter had been evicted for loud parties in the past, you may be held accountable since you should have checked with their previous landlord about it. Of course, if you’ve practiced due diligence and didn’t find any indication of past troubles, that will boost your likelihoods of avoiding liability.
Addressing the Problem
Time is of the essence when attempting to address the renter issue. However, there may be moments when a property owner has limitations as to their ability to remedy the situation. If a tenant is creating a nuisance for the neighbors but hasn’t actually broken the terms of the lease, you can’t be held responsible for failing to evict them. For you to be held liable, you must have the authority to do something regarding the problem indeed. Of course, the downside is that if your lease clearly states that you don’t allow loud parties or business activities and you neglect to take appropriate actions, you might be on the hook in a lawsuit.
The specific terms and language used in the lease is an essential first step toward holding your tenants accountable for any nuisance or illicit activities. All at once, taking immediate and appropriate action is also crucial to make sure you are safe against being sued by angry neighbors. Screening your renters fully is another essential part of keeping yourself out of unwanted legal trouble, as is carrying out regular property evaluations. At Real Property Management Alamo, we do all of this for our McQueeney property owners – and more. Would you like to learn more? Please contact us online or by phone at 210-600-5672 for more information.