Your obligations as a landlord

Last week I touched on the opportunities presenting themselves in the form of student housing, and I’ve also blogged this week about why property is often considered a good investment. However, one thing many people don’t really consider until they are already committed to an investment property is what it actually means to be a landlord.

  

As a landlord, you have certain liabilities and responsibilities and you have to take these seriously! The majority of us have rented a property at some stage of our lives, and it’s important to remember what it felt like being a tenant when the shoe is on the other foot. Although the real estate may be your property, for the duration you have a tenant, it’s also their home.

As a landlord, you need to ensure that you are aware of your legal obligations to provide safe premises for your tenants. You cannot assume that the lease your tenants have signed gives you protection from liability. There have been changes made to the Residential Tenancies Act which make it clear that as a landlord, you have increased responsibility to ensure your property is safe, not just for the tenant but also for third parties.

  

Of course you still need to protect yourself and your property and it’s not all about your tenant. Buying real estate, regardless of whether you intend to occupy the property yourself or lease it, is a big decision and the value of your property will be impacted by the care given to it.

In order to protect yourself as a landlord, make sure you’re aware of what is going on at your property. Keep your public risk insurance up to date, and check for exclusions. Make sure your property is inspected regularly, and check beyond the basics to include areas such as the property’s structure, wiring, water pipes etc. And if you’re in the market for an investment property, be sure to organize a written inspection prior to purchase. The old adage ‘a stitch in time saves nine’ can easily be translated to property maintenance, without the sewing part of course.
Posted by Charles Tarbey on 26/06/2009 at 8:45 AM | Categories:

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