A Small Mistake Can be Catastrophic in California

Industry News,

There is no doubt that becoming a Housing Provider is an extremely complicated endeavor. You should be aware of landlord-tenant laws to avoid any unexpected problems. A minor incident in your rental property that occurs due to negligence can escalate into a catastrophic situation. Making even the smallest mistakes can wreak havoc if you do not take them seriously.

Avoid Discriminating Questions

California has strict laws if you turn down a prospect’s application to rent for what could be considered discriminatory reasons. Avoid answering these types of questions:  How many children are in the building?  Are there emotional support animals in the building?  How many old people have moved into the building in the last year?  All of these questions are none of their business. If you are unsure how to answer, sign-up for a Fair Housing class at the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles today.

Negligence in Property Maintenance

A rental agreement specifies the responsibility of each party to maintain and repair damages to the property.  Make sure everything is in good, habitable condition before renting to a tenant.  A rental unit must have clean water, electricity, gas, plumbing, structurally safe flooring and roof. If you fail to provide necessary repairs after a tenant’s resonable request, you could face a lawsuit.

Negligence in Providing Safe Environment

Negligence is an umbrella term. It holds owners accountable for unintentional harm caused to renters. To prove negligence, a renter merely needs to prove the Housing Provider has breached his or her duty. In addition, the renter must prove that the Housing Provider could not maintain the safety measures and standard of care stipulated in the law.  If a renter is injured due to an owner’s failure to provide reasonable care, the owner is responsible for the injuries.

Physical Injury

Look out for things like a loose handrail, stairs lacking non-skid material, trip hazards without a warning sign, carports with oil accumulation, poor lighting, etc.   As Housing Providers, we always want to provide and keep our properties as safe a living environment as possible.  Always address parking lot lights that are out.  Fix broken gates as soon as possible, broken deadbolts, make sure all windows can be secured from entry from the outside, security bars should release from the inside and so on.  These small items are just a sample of potential problems that if not addressed, can have dire consequences for both you and your tenant.

Bottom Line

Always be pro-active and take care of the small things so they do not become major liabilities.  If it is too much to handle, consider retaining property management services to ease your burden.

About the Author: 

Kari Negri is the Chief Executive Officer of Sky Property Management and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles. For questions, you can reach Kari at Kari@SKYprop.LA.