Location, accessibility, and aesthetics might be top on your list when searching for a rental property. However, the level of responsibility your landlord demonstrates for the property is also crucial. Whether you're in the market for your ideal rental or if you're living in a rental and believe your landlord may be negligent, this guide outlines common signs of a negligent landlord.
Failure to Assess and Repair Property Damage Effectively
Property damage occurs regularly, and it's usually the role of the landlord to identify and repair any damage or hazards within the premises. However, a negligent landlord may fail to identify and repair such damage, such as:
- Slip and fall hazards, including ice and snow
- Poor lighting or unsafe hallways, staircases and entrances
- Broken locks on windows and doors
- Insect or pest infestations
When asked about the property damage, the landlord might provide dodgy answers. Additionally, they might also fail to provide fine details on the expected repair dates and strategies.
In the past, a common property law existed that stated once a tenant signs a lease document, they must take the property as they found it. The premise behind this was that the tenant had an obligation to identify the damage before renting the house.
A responsible landlord can identify any damage ahead of time and repair them before a tenant occupies the property as well as will fix any damage or disrepair that occurs once the property is occupied. They should also provide notifications to tenants and convenient strategies for reconstruction or repair.
If you are injured because of unsafe or hazardous conditions caused by a negligent landlord, you may be able to file a personal injury claim to recover any losses such as the cost of medical bills, lost income and other damages.
Poor Communication Skills
Whether a property has a damaged roof or leaking taps, tenants need rapid responses from their landlords for such issues. In the age of social media, people often have high expectations when communicating with landlords.
Communication issues often arise with negligent landlords because they have different priorities from those of their tenants. Usually, such a landlord does not have a close relationship with the property, so they don't feel obliged to respond fast.
Aside from immediacy, the frequency of communication is also a crucial factor. A negligent landlord often fails to realize the importance of communicating regularly and proactively with their tenants.
Such a landlord might also fail to realize the importance of using the correct modes of communication with tenants. It shows a lack of respect and responsibility on the landlord's part. Some tenants might prefer phone calls, while others would prefer messages.
Lack of Proper Documentation and Legal Procedures
A negligent landlord does not have all the correct or concise documentation for accommodating a tenant. They usually prefer using "word of mouth" techniques, which lack proper details and are likely to be used to mistreat tenants.
The property owner might fail to provide the documents, which should be a red flag for negligence. The quality and conciseness of papers your landlord offers will ensure each party is aware of their obligations. A few typical documents needed can include:
- A lease agreement- Refers to a vital contract that sets the tone for your stay in the property. Both the landlord and tenant sign the contract.
- Move-in and out transition forms- Refers to documents you receive when you enter or leave the property. It can include details such as deposits, damage fees, and various other information.
- Certificate of Occupancy (CO)- The landlord might also fail to provide you with a certificate of Occupancy document before you sign the property lease. It's a document that shows that a particular living space is legal, whether commercial or residential.
The Landlord Makes a Bad First Impression
Your first interaction with the landlord will have a massive impact on your decision to rent a particular property. While they may not be wearing a three-piece suit, they should certainly look responsible and well organized.
Be on the lookout for issues such as poor hygiene, dressing, or even substance abuse. The landlord should not ask any discriminatory questions about your religion, place of birth, or social life. An irresponsible property owner might also state unusual terms during your first meeting.
For instance, the property owner might seek a non-refundable deposit fee. However, if you look at it further, realize that the "non-refundable" deposit term is inaccurate. If your property owner has such terms, acknowledge that they don't understand the contents of the Fair Housing Act.
You might have to research further for the reasons why they need such unusual deposits. Is the fee for house repairs, cleaning, or for pets? These fees are sometimes illegal, and a negligent landlord might not be aware of this.
Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law, Premises Liability Lawyers
If you’ve been injured in an accident at your rented home or apartment complex, contact Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law and speak with a skilled premises liability lawyer as soon as possible. Our firm has an in-depth knowledge of personal injury laws, we have extensive experience in successfully representing a wide range of premises liability cases, and we pride ourselves in being able to provide clients with the passionate representation they deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.