As a landowner, it can be complicated anticipating when a tenant’s negligence could get you deep trouble. When they signed the rental agreement, hopefully, your renter agreed to keep your Reno rental home clean and properly maintained and to refrain from illegal activities. Problems that start on the property can quickly grow into problems for you since not all tenants are able to live up to the specifics listed in their lease.
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 even if you are not found accountable for your tenant’s unlawful business schemes. The result of any legal action taken against you will be dependent 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
Once in a while, you’ll get tenants are exceptionally good at hiding shady activities from their landlords. Still, it is important to take steps right away to address any issues especially if you see something happening on your rental property. 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 instance, 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”
In some instances, the matter of whether or not you “should” have been mindful of a renter’s illicit activities may appear. For instance, if you perceive your tenant is self-employed before you extend an offer of a lease, then you must conclude that they could administer that line of work from the rental home. Additionally, 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. Certainly, your chances of avoiding liability will increase if you’ve done due diligence and didn’t find any evidence of past problems.
Addressing the Problem
No matter what, it is always a good plan to deal with any problems a renter is causing as soon as you see them. But there are times when a property owner has a limited capacity to sort out the problem. 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. In order to be liable, you must show that you are in control and are able to do something about the problem. Now on the other side of the fence, if your lease explicitly states that you don’t authorize loud parties or business activities and you hold off on taking action, then you just might find yourself facing a lawsuit.
The specific terms and language used in the lease is an important first step toward holding your tenants accountable for any nuisance or illicit activities. Meanwhile, taking swift and suitable action is also vital to help keep yourself from being sued by incensed neighbors. Carefully vetting your renters is another important part of evading undesired legal trouble, as is conducting repeated property evaluations. At Real Property Management Corazon, we do all of this – and more, for our Reno property owners. Would you like to find out more? Please contact us online or by phone at 775-826-1414 for more information.