Responsibilities of a Landlord

Landlord Responsibilities

General landlord responsibilities include:

  • Know your tenant rental rights. The best way to protect your rights is to know them.
  • Learn about tenant landlord laws regarding the State/Province you are renting in.

Providing a livable unit… Livability means that the unit should:

  • Be weather and waterproof
  • Have working plumbing
  • Provide enough hot and cold running water
  • Have a working heating system
  • Have an electrical system in good working order
  • Be free from infestations of insects and rodents
  • Have sufficient trash cans
  • Have floors, stairways and railings in good repair
  • Have natural lighting in every room
  • Have working windows that open at least halfway or mechanical ventilation
  • Have safe fire or emergency exits leading to
    street or hallway
  • Have a working deadbolt lock on main entrance
  • Have working security devices on windows
  • Have working smoke detectors
  • Have a secure mailbox facility that prevents Identity Thieves from stealing mail

Landlords should show respect and consideration for tenants by:

  • Providing the tenant with a list on move-in-day such as where to put the cardboard boxes, where to park, a vacuum to clean up any mess, flyers or brochures for a pizza delivery or Chinese food, show up and ask how things are going, help where you can and perhaps make suggestions where required
  • Treating all tenants equally
  • Educating tenants about rights & responsibilities refer to
  • Respecting tenant(s) privacy and quiet/peaceful enjoyment of the rental
  • Never becoming involved in a heated argument or physical confrontation with a tenant
  • Never swearing or yelling at a tenant
  • Putting in writing requests, warnings, notices of change etc.
  • Maintaining clean premises so that the tenant can take pride in his/her surroundings (no clutter)
  • Effectively communicating with tenant(s) on a constant basis to determine if any problems
  • Knowing tenant(s) habits to prevent crime i.e. when at work, when at home, when on holidays
  • Making all accessible areas safe and well lit that includes parking
  • Developing a sense of community, get input from the tenant as to how you can make things better
  • Providing the tenant with an incentive or a reward for paying on time and letting tenant know how much you appreciate him/her being a good tenant
  • Offering good tenants a Certificate of Satisfactory Tenancy upon termination of satisfactory lease period from
  • Showing common sense in all dealings and problem solving with tenant
  • Treat tenants as you would like them to treat you

Landlord Advice

A tenant with a bad tenant history with other landlords and a poor credit history that includes bad pay habits, can cause nightmarish issues, where there is property damage or worse, where an Individual has a propensity for violence or other dangerous criminal activity. It is extremely important with the liability issues we all face today that a suitable tenant screening process is implemented in each and every application for rent. offers tenant screening resources to help landlords find the right tenant. this includes a criminal and eviction search and consumer credit report. It’s much easier to deny an applicant tenancy than it is to go through the tenant eviction process. Reporting tenant pay habits to the TVS database minimizes the risk of late rentpayment, non rent payment and other activity that is associated with not paying rent. The two go hand in hand, not paying rent and not being responsible tenants.
Failure to fulfill tenant responsibilities can result in a tenant eviction. In the case of unpaid rent or money owed as a result of damaged rental property, a landlord can have the debt reported to the major credit bureaus through a collection agency. It is important that a tenant does not breach the rental agreement/lease.. A tenant eviction and unpaid rent can have a negative impact on one’s ability to rent in the future. Tenants often do not consider the consequences when breaching a rental agreement/lease.

Finding Tenants


In order to maintain profit and not lose a lot of money is to have a good regular tenant. Bad tenants can be very costly to landlords, especially in cases of damaged property or refusal to pay rent. Its in the landlord’s best interest to find good, steady, tenants, to cut back on the cost.
However finding good tenants isn’t always easy. You need to make sure that your advertising is targeting your ideal tenants.
Step 1 – Identify and understand your ideal tenant
You need to know what kind of tenant you are looking for before you start advertising. Some good choices are;
·         Pays rent on time
·         No prior evictions
·         No criminal background
·         Maintains property
·         Reports issues in a timely matter
·         Stable job with regular income
Depending on your situation you may have other criteria, such as no smoking.
Step 2 – Create advertising that is effective
Once you are aware of what characteristics you like in good tenants, think about what factors contribute to a good rental experience. What did you as the landlord have to offer them?
You want to offer things that will attract the tenants you want. For example, nearby schools and a pool would be a good advertisement if you were looking to attract families.
Step 3 – Find ideal tenants
After you have the advertisements planned out you need to consider the best methods to reach the proper audience, whether it be online, posters, newspapers or another source. Figure out the best way to attract tenants who desire the amenities you offer, want to live in your area, and can afford the rent.
Step 4 – Avoid high risk tenants
Often you will attract tenants who care little about the property or looking to pull a scam. Its a good idea to advertise that all tenants are required to pass a tenant credit check and other tenant screening in order to cut back on the number of risky tenants.
If a prospective tenant someone you want as a tenant they should have no problem proceeding with the application process. This criteria and the questions below will save you time and money as it tends to eliminate individuals who you don’t want to rent to.
·         Where do you work and how long have you been there?
·         Why are you moving?
·          Where do you work and how long have you been employed there?
·         Do you have any prior evictions?
·         Have you ever been convicted of a crime?
·         What are you looking for in an apartment?
·         Are you willing to undergo a Tenant screening that includes tenant credit reports to determine credit worthiness and phone calls to current/previous landlords to determine tenant worthiness.
Once you have created the process you are going to use, it should work every time you need to find a new tenant. It may sometimes require changes and tweaking, depending on the situation. So make sure you keep any eye out for problems.


Why Landlords Tenant Screen

Ever wonder why your landlord asks you all those questions? Why you have to fill out endless forms every time you go apartment hunting? Well there is actually a good reason for it. Being a landlord is like being a business owner and the apartments are your business. Its the landlords job to insure that the apartments are a safe environment, both for the tenants benefit and their own.

After all, if they get a tenant who decides to destroy the property because they are having a bad day, the landlord is responsible for paying for the damages.Its true that they can often get the money back in  court, however that takes time and even more money, and until they manage that they have to pay for everything out of pocket, which could be thousands of dollars.Many landlords also depend a great deal on the money that comes from the tenants. There are a great deal of property taxes involved in owning an apartment. Without having that money coming in, many have no way to pay for it. So in truth its in the landlord’s best interest to find a tenant who is capable of paying rent, likely to stick around, and not liable to go on a rampage and destroy the property. They also want to make sure you personality is a good match for their buiding.

However, landlords, aren’t mind readers. That’s why potential tenants are required to fill out applications and submit to tenant screening. The information asked is only part of the process. Landlords take that information and use it on tenant credit report sites, to get information such as credit reports, criminal records, and number of prior evictions. The also verify that you are who you claim to be, something that has become more important in today’s society, where identity theft is rampant.

Landlords look at things like credit, how steady your job is, the amount of money you make and how much you have in account as a way to judge how likely you are to pay rent. Eviction records and criminal records generally can tell landlords how likely you are to cause issues. Last thing a landlord wants is to find the  cops at their door because of something a tenant did.

What seems like an endless pain to tenants is the landlords best protection against scams and risky tenants. So when your filling out one of those applications, consider this, you probably don’t want a neighbor selling drugs next door, or damaging any of your property either.


Tenants do research

As I landlord I’ve been doing tenant screening for years. Been withhttp://www.tenantver​ for most of it. Researching applicants is just part of the job.  And during all of that time only two applicants have ever request information from me to run their own search.  Research is just as important to do if you’re the renter as it is for the landlord . Check things like tax records, market price for the area and so on. Never western union, always see the apartment first and if it sounds too good to be true then it probably is. Also beware of any “landlord” out of state or country, especially if they give you a large amount of personal information and a sad story.


Don’t assume landlord’s insurance covers all damage

Posted 03/22/2012 by Janet Portman
Q: I read a recent New York Times article about renters insurance, which quoted an insurance professional who warned that if a tenant’s possessions are damaged, “the landlord’s policy is not going to cover your damages.” But the article says there’s “an exception to that … if the landlord was ‘aware of a prior hazardous condition, failed to correct it in a reasonable time frame, and your property was damaged.'”
I’m confused — as a landlord, am I insuring my tenant’s property if it’s damaged as a result of my carelessness? –Paul B.
A: Your confusion is understandable. In a sense, this insurance professional was right: Tenants in this situation might get some money from the landlord’s carrier. But it’s not correct to conclude that when landlord carelessness is involved, the landlord’s policy will “cover” the tenant. Once you see how these claims work, you’ll see what I mean.
Here’s a typical scenario:
Suppose Sam’s computer, which he left on the kitchen floor while it was recharging, is ruined when the pipes burst under the kitchen sink, causing a flood. Sam’s landlord had supposedly fixed the leak just that day, but a plumber later confirms that the landlord did a shoddy job. It’s pretty clear that the landlord was careless.
Sam’s landlord has property insurance, but that insurance covers only the landlord’s property; it wouldn’t extend to Sam’s computer. The landlord also has liability insurance, which covers the landlord when his carelessness results in damages or injury.
If Sam the tenant has renters insurance …
Here’s how things would play out if Sam has his own policy. Sam takes pictures of the floor and his computer, gets a statement from a computer repair shop and the plumber, and submits the claim to his insurance carrier. The company pays Sam; most companies do not dispute these claims unless they have solid reasons to suspect fraud. Sam buys another computer. (Hopefully, he’s got “replacement value,” not “actual cash value” coverage, which results in enough money to cover the total cost of a new computer.) Sam’s carrier can go after the landlord (known as “subrogation”) to get reimbursed, but because this is a small claim, it probably won’t. Even if it did, Sam wouldn’t be involved.
If Sam has no renters insurance …
In the absence of his own policy, Sam wants the landlord to pay for the results of his shoddy repair. He sends documentation of the damage to the landlord, demanding reimbursement. Sam cannot make a claim on the landlord’s property policy, because that policy did not insure Sam’s stuff.
The landlord then has three options: Pay Sam; refer the claim to his carrier, which will treat it as a claim against the landlord’s liability policy; or ignore Sam. If he doesn’t pay voluntarily but refers the claim, the carrier will get in touch with Sam and probably settle. But if he simply ignores Sam, Sam will have to sue the landlord to get his money. Even then, the landlord is under no obligation to involve his insurance company, and may choose not to in order to keep his record clean.
If Sam wins in small claims court, he will get a judgment that he will have to collect. But if the landlord won’t pay, he can’t just present the judgment to the landlord’s insurance company. Instead, he will have to attach the landlord’s bank account or garnish his wages.
So you see, Sam may eventually get his money from the landlord’s carrier, but only if the landlord chooses to involve the insurance company, and only if they settle or Sam wins in court. That’s a far cry from saying that the landlord’s insurance will “cover” damage to the tenant’s property caused by the landlord’s carelessness. The bottom line: It’s a lot easier to have your own coverage and let the insurance companies sort it out.
Q: The lease I’ve been asked to sign has an odd clause concerning attorney’s fees and costs in case there’s a lawsuit. It says that the loser will pay the winner, but only up to $1,500. Is this legal? –Geoff S.
A: Lawsuits between landlords and tenants can arise over the meaning and implementation of the lease, or over issues that aren’t covered by the lease. A lawsuit over the landlord’s retention of the security deposit is an example of the first kind; a tenant’s claim that the landlord charged her more rent because of her race is an example of the second.
Whether your landlord’s attempt to limit the loser’s liability for court costs and fees will hold up depends on the kind of lawsuit at issue, and on what your state law has to say about the matter. Let’s take a look at each situation.
Lawsuits over the lease
Some landlord-tenant disputes arise when one side claims that the other isn’t abiding by the lease terms, or is implementing them in a way that is contrary to the spirit of the lease. For example, a landlord might claim that a tenant is failing to take reasonable care of the property, in violation of the lease clause that requires such care, and terminate accordingly. The tenant contests the ensuing eviction lawsuit, and one side wins. In this situation, your lease’s cap on the loser’s liability might hold up, as long as there’s no state law or policy that would lead a judge to strike it down.
But suppose the lawsuit is over the tenant’s use of a rent-withholding remedy, which was followed by the landlord’s decision to take away the tenant’s parking privileges. The tenant, claiming unlawful retaliation, sues and wins. Will the cap be applied? That depends on whether the anti-retaliation statute itself requires the loser to pay the winner’s costs. When retaliation is involved, many statutes include this type of provision.
For example, California law specifies, “In any action brought for damages for retaliatory eviction, the court shall award reasonable attorney’s fees to the prevailing party if either party requests attorney’s fees upon the initiation of the action.” (Cal. Civil Code § 1942.5(g).)
The statute in Illinois does not provide for these fees (765 Il. Comp. Stat. § 720/1), but Texas law does (Tx. Prop. Code Ann. § 92.333).
So, if your state’s anti-retaliation statute requires the loser to pay reasonable fees, but the loser’s attorney fees exceed $1,500, will a court uphold the lease’s attempt to vary the statutory rule? It depends. Sometimes, courts allow landlords and tenants to vary the rules, but often they don’t.
For example, courts won’t uphold a lease clause that relieves a landlord of the duty to maintain fit housing.
Lawsuits that arise independently of the lease
Now, suppose you’re dealing with a legal spat that does not have its origin in the lease, such as a discrimination lawsuit. It’s doubtful that a hearing officer or a judge would apply a lease clause that attempted to limit the liability of the losing party. Often, the antidiscrimination statute itself specifies that the loser will pay.
And from a practical point of view, such a limitation would limit the number of cases brought to challenge illegal landlord acts, which is not what state legislators want.
Here’s the problem: Imagine a winning tenant whose attorney has billed for many thousands of dollars, as is common. If the losing landlord is responsible for only $1,500, the balance will have to come from the winning tenant. If the award to the tenant in the lawsuit is modest, the lawyer could end up with most of it. Knowing that this may be how things turn out, tenants may be discouraged from bringing such suits, which is not what legislators intended when they wrote laws proscribing discrimination.
For this reason, a court might refuse to apply a lease clause that limits the loser’s liability for the winner’s fees.
Posted by Kristina Woods at 7:51 AM