Accurate Credit Bureau Landlord Responsibility and Tenant Screening

A landlord’s responsibility to his tenants is to provide a safe, functional living space. It’s the landlord’s obligation to make sure that the property is up to local and federal housing code. City and county housing authorities establish strict minimum standards for electricity, plumbing, paint (lead-free), lighting, ventilation and structural integrity. Many cities also require safety measures like dead bolts on all exterior doors, smoke alarms and fire extinguishers in each unit.

Before the tenant moves in have them fill out a tenant rental application and run a tenant background check. Accurate Credit Bureau can process tenant credit reports, tenant background checks and a criminal records report on your prospective tenants. After a thorough tenant screening have your prospective tenants fill out a professional rental lease.

Once the tenant moves in, it’s the landlord’s responsibility to repair anything that breaks on the property, from a burned-out light bulb in the stairwell down to leaky faucets. A landlord is expected to respond to a repair request within 24 hours and fix it within a reasonable time frame. The severity of the problem usually dictates how quickly it gets fixed.

If a landlord fails to address a known problem in a timely fashion, he could get into big trouble. The worst-case scenario is that a tenant or his guest is seriously injured by an unresolved issue with the property, like a broken rail on a staircase or a missing floorboard. If the tenant can prove that the landlord knew about the damage and neglected to act with reasonable timeliness to fix it, he can sue and he’ll win. This is why landlords have to buy landlord liability insurance.

Even if the landlord can’t fix the problem right away, it’s his responsibility to let the tenant know the circumstances that are causing the delay and when it might be resolved. A good landlord will encourage his tenants to report all known problems immediately to avoid potential liability for injuries.

It’s also the landlord’s responsibility to keep his tenants safe from crime. All stairways and common areas need to be well-lighted. Main doors and gates need to remain locked at all times. If there’s an intercom system for buzzing in guests, it needs to be in working order. Exterior doors should have deadbolts and windows should have locks, particularly those that are accessible by an external fire escape.

A landlord also has to take reasonable measures to make sure that his tenants aren’t criminals. If a landlord knows that some of his tenants are dealing drugs from their apartments, for example, and doesn’t report them to the police, the landlord might be held accountable for any neighborhood crimes that can be linked to the drug-dealing operation. Landlords should always run a criminal record report.

Landlords are often small business owners and typically carry two separate insurance policies — property insurance and liability insurance. Property insurance protects a landlord’s building from damages inflicted by outside sources, like fire, storms, vandalism and possibly earthquakes and floods. Insurance for the last two potential perils requires additional coverage and costs extra.
Liability insurance covers the legal and medical bills when a landlord is sued for damage he allegedly inflicted on a tenant, including injuries caused by landlord neglect, discrimination, wrongful eviction and invasion of privacy.

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