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Can a Bernards Landlord be Sued for a Renter’s Negligence?

Bernards Property Manager Going Over the Terms of a LeaseFor house owners, it can be difficult to expect when a tenant’s negligence might land you in hot water. Hopefully, your renter agreed to keep your Bernards rental home clean and properly maintained and to refrain from illegal activities when they signed the lease. Not all tenants will live up to the terms and conditions in the lease agreement, and the problems that begin on the property can quickly grow into big problems for you.

In spite of the fact that you are not held liable for the felonious actions that your tenant may perpetrate, 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 outcome of any legal action taken against you hinges 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

On occasion, you’ll come across tenants that are quite good at hiding shady activities from their landlords. Despite that, if you learn that something unauthorized is happening on your rental property, it would be ideal for you to take steps right away to resolve any problems. 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. An example of this could be that 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”

It is not very often that the issue of whether or not you “should” have been aware of a renter’s illicit activities may come about. Such as, if you are aware your tenant is self-employed before you present a lease, then you must wonder if they will run that business in the rental home. On top of that, 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. By all means, your probability of avoiding liability will multiply if you’ve done due diligence and didn’t find any indications of past problems.

Addressing the Problem

It is a wise idea to fix any problems a renter is causing as quickly as you discover them. But once in a while, a property owner has a limited means to entirely correct 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. You must have the power to actually do something about the problem in order to be held liable. Without a doubt, the inverse is that if your lease distinctly indicates that you don’t consent to loud parties or business activities on the premises and you don’t take immediate action, then you can expect to be named in a lawsuit.

In Conclusion

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. For now, taking quick and correct action is essential in preventing yourself from being sued by infuriated neighbors. Cautiously screening your renters is another vital part of dodging unwelcome legal problems, as is accomplishing frequent property evaluations. At Real Property Management NJ Elite, we take care of our Bernards property owner’s needs. Would you like to hear more? Please contact us online or by phone at 908-955-7487 for more information.

We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.