Why liability should be top of mind as a landlord

28-Feb-2017

Owning an investment property is an exciting and rewarding experience and in most cases tenants look after the property, pay their rent on time, and reside safely and comfortably in your property. 

However it’s not always smooth sailing. Like you, tenants are only human and accidents do happen, so protecting yourself against liability should be on the top of your mind.

Compliance and liability are key focal points for those who own an investment property. Your property manager will always advise you on the obvious ones like smoke alarm regulations, blind cord compliance and pool compliance. Ensuring compliance in these areas will help reduce your exposure to risk and make owning an investment property far less stressful for you.  But what if you were faced with an event that is beyond your control?

Imagine the following scenario - summer has peaked and the weather has been hot and humid. Your tenant buys a blow up pool from Big W and sets it up in the backyard without informing you or the property manager about it. Pool regulations stipulate that any body of water over 30cm must have a compliant pool fence enclosing it. If someone was to be injured or worse in that pool, it could be viewed as your responsibility as the property owner due to non-compliance. As a result, you could find yourself caught up in a liability lawsuit.

Other examples of potential mishaps in and around the property include, a tenant slipping over on a wet tiled area, falling down the stairs, tripping on frayed carpet, or being electrocuted by an appliance or faulty light switch.

Your property manager will always work diligently to reduce your risk of exposure to potential mishaps, however things inevitably wear or break in a property eventually. Alternatively, a chain of unusual events could lead to an accident occurring. It is crucial that you understand that as the landlord, YOU could find yourself embroiled in a liability claim should the tenant or a guest at the property you own be injured.

The good news is you can protect yourself against such things happening. If you are unsure how to protect yourself against a liability claim, contact your property manager who will point you in the right direction. We really can’t stress strongly enough how important this is.