Understanding the risks Minneapolis landlords deal with will help you be prepared for what kind of liability you face as a property owner. You need to protect yourself and your property against issues that can arise from these risks.
Liability at the Property
Nearly anything can go wrong at your property and cause harm to your tenants. Removing the risks is the best way to protect yourself. Conduct a thorough inspection of the home and look for potential problem areas. Make sure there are sturdy railings near stairs and take care of any uneven sidewalks or surfaces where a person could easily fall. Test the smoke detectors and the window locks and make sure there is nothing obvious that could hurt a person.
It’s easier than you think to violate Fair Housing laws. If you are not familiar with the federal Fair Housing Act, make sure you read it and know how to avoid any discriminatory practices. Treating all applicants and tenants consistently is the best way to protect your interests. All screening procedures should be explained in writing and documented in every application. In addition to federal fair housing laws, you also need to understand the state and local laws.
Carbon Monoxide Gas
Carbon monoxide can cause serious health problems for your tenants. It’s colorless and odorless, therefore hard to detect. In Minnesota, you are legally required to have carbon monoxide detectors outside of all the bedrooms in your home. Winter is especially a dangerous time for carbon monoxide. It gets cold, so the houses are all closed up and heated. Keep your fireplaces clean and your heating system inspected. Make sure you check your carbon monoxide detectors to ensure they work.
Licensing rental properties is overseen by the local municipalities. Make sure you familiarize yourself with all the local housing codes and comply with all of them. Stay up to date on any changes and keep your property up to code by taking care of maintenance issues quickly.
Lead Based Paint
You are legally required to disclose any lead based paint that might be found in homes constructed before 1978. Any repair work you do on homes with lead based paint needs to be completed by a lead based paint specialist. Make sure you use a certified repair person if your house was built before 1978, or you can face serious fines.
Avoid these liability issues by staying informed of local laws and regulations, and being proactive in the care of your tenants and property. Contact Residential Property Management, Inc. if you have any questions.