Posts Tagged ‘ liability insurance ’

Accurate Credit Bureau Feedback

Jeff, many thanks for processing this for me in record time.  It was most helpful, AND the apartment was rented!
Marrgo
For tenant screening and landlord services see Accurate Credit Bureau.
Important Decisions Demand Accurate Information!

Landlord – Accurate Credit Bureau

noun
1. a person or organization that owns and leases apartments to others.
2. a person who owns and leases land, buildings, etc.
3. a person who owns or runs an inn, lodging house, etc.
4. a landowner.
Landlord assistance

Accurate Credit Bureau Landlord Tenant Law

The modern concept of landlord-tenant law includes duties beyond simple conveyancing of the lease:

According to the Tenant Act in America, the landlord has a duty to deliver possession to the tenant at the beginning of a lease. The justification for placing this burden on the landlord is the idea that the landlord has more resources than the new tenants to pursue legal remedies against wrongful holdovers (former tenants that will not give up possession of the lease).

By virtue of the contractual aspects of a lease, modern leases in America include an implied covenant of quiet enjoyment. This means that the landlord will not interfere with the tenant’s possessory rights to the lease. Though a landlord may forcibly enter without required notice during an emergency, generally a mere necessity for quick action does not constitute an emergency within the doctrine of imminent peril, where the situation calling for the action is one which should reasonably have been anticipated and which the person whose action is called for should have been prepared to meet; the doctrine of imminent peril does not excuse one who has brought about the peril by her own negligence.

Of course the Landlord must provide shelter free of serious defects which might harm heath or safety.
For more information on Landlord Tenant Law and Tenant Screening see Accurate Credit Bureau.

Accurate Credit Bureau Landlord Tax Tips

Every year, millions of landlords pay more taxes on their rental income than they have to. Why? Because they fail to take advantage of all the tax deductions available for owners of rental property. Rental real estate provides more tax benefits than almost any other investment.

Often, these benefits make the difference between losing money and earning a profit on a rental property. Here are the top ten tax deductions for owners of small residential rental property.

1. INTEREST
Interest is often a landlord’s single biggest deductible expense. Common examples of interest that landlords can deduct include mortgage interest payments on loans used to acquire or improve rental property and interest on credit cards for goods or services used in a rental activity.

2. DEPRECIATION
The actual cost of a house, apartment building, or other rental property is not fully deductible in the year in which you pay for it. Instead, landlords get back the cost of real estate through depreciation. This involves deducting a portion of the cost of the property over several years.

3. REPAIRS
The cost of repairs to rental property (provided the repairs are ordinary, necessary, and reasonable in amount) are fully deductible in the year in which they are incurred. Good examples of deductible repairs include repainting, fixing gutters or floors, fixing leaks, plastering, and replacing broken windows.

4. LOCAL TRAVEL
Landlords are entitled to a tax deduction whenever they drive anywhere for their rental activity. For example, when you drive to your rental building to deal with a tenant complaint or go to the hardware store to purchase a part for a repair, you can deduct your travel expenses.

If you drive a car, SUV, van, pickup, or panel truck for your rental activity (as most landlords do), you have two options for deducting your vehicle expenses. You can:
a) deduct your actual expenses (gasoline, upkeep, repairs), or
b) use the standard mileage rate. To qualify for the standard mileage rate, you must use the standard mileage method the first year you use a car for your business activity. Moreover, you can’t use the standard mileage rate if you have claimed accelerated depreciation deductions in prior years, or have taken a Section 179 deduction for the vehicle.
5. LONG DISTANCE TRAVEL
If you travel overnight for your rental activity, you can deduct your airfare, hotel bills, meals, and other expenses. If you plan your trip carefully, you can even mix landlord business with pleasure and still take a deduction.

However, IRS auditors closely scrutinize deductions for overnight travel — and many taxpayers get caught claiming these deductions without proper records to back them up. To stay within the law (and avoid unwanted attention from the IRS), you need to properly document your long distance travel expenses.

6. HOME OFFICE
Provided they meet certain minimal requirements, landlords may deduct their home office expenses from their taxable income. This deduction applies not only to space devoted to office work, but also to a workshop or any other home workspace you use for your rental business. This is true whether you own your home or apartment or are a renter.

7. EMPLOYEES AND INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS
Whenever you hire anyone to perform services for your rental activity, you can deduct their wages as a rental business expense. This is so whether the worker is an employee (for example, a resident manager) or an independent contractor (for example, a repair person).

8. CASUALTY AND THEFT LOSSES
If your rental property is damaged or destroyed from a sudden event like a fire or flood, you may be able to obtain a tax deduction for all or part of your loss. These types of losses are called casualty losses. You usually won’t be able to deduct the entire cost of property damaged or destroyed by a casualty. How much you may deduct depends on how much of your property was destroyed and whether the loss was covered by insurance.

9. INSURANCE
You can deduct the premiums you pay for almost any insurance for your rental activity. This includes fire, theft, and flood insurance for rental property, as well as landlord liability insurance. And if you have employees, you can deduct the cost of their health and workers’ compensation insurance.

10. LEGAL AND PROFESSIONAL SERVICES
Finally, you can deduct fees that you pay to attorneys, accountants, property management companies, real estate investment advisors, tenant screening companies and other professionals. You can deduct these fees as operating expenses as long as the fees are paid for work related to your rental activity.

If you didn’t know one or more of these facts, you could be paying far more tax than you need to.

Accurate Credit Bureau California Landlord Tenant Law Leases and Applications

California Landlord Tenant Rental Law

For professional California rental leases and rental applications go to http://www.accuratecredit.com/html/freerentalapplications.html

Security Deposit:

Security Deposit Maximum: Two months’ rent for unfurnished dwellings; 3 months’ rent if furnished dwellings. (Civ. Code §§ 1950.5 and 1940.5g)
Security Deposit Interest: No state-wide statute, but 15 (or so) localities have rent control ordinances that require you to pay interest, including Los Angeles. (reference)
Separate Security Deposit Bank Account: No Statute
Pet Deposits and Additional Non-Refundable Fees: Not Allowed (Civ. Code §§ 1950.5m)
Deadline for Returning Security Deposit: 21 days (Civ. Code §§ 1950.5g)
Security Deposit can be Withheld: (handbook)
For unpaid rent;
For cleaning the rental unit when the tenant moves out, but only to make the unit as clean as it was when the tenant first moved in;
For repair of damages, other than normal wear and tear, caused by the tenant or the tenant’s guests; and
If the lease or rental agreement allows it, for the cost of restoring or replacing furniture, furnishings, or other items of personal property (including keys), other than because of normal wear and tear.
Require Written Description/Itemized List of Damages and Charges: Yes. Receipts and documentation not needed to accompany the itemized list of repairs if repairs and cleaning cost less than $126. (Civ. Code §§ 1950.5g 4A)
Record Keeping of Deposit Withholdings: No Statute
Failure to Comply: A bad faith claim or retention by a landlord may subject the landlord to statutory damages of up to twice the amount of the security, in addition to actual damages. (Civ. Code §§ 1950.5(l))
Lease, Rent & Fees:

Rent is Due: Unless there is a contract to the contrary, and the lease is for less than one year, rent is due at the end of the month. Most leases state that rent is due at the beginning of the month. (Civ. Code §§ 1947) and (Civ. Code §§ 1962)
Rent Increase Notice: 30 days if rent increase is less than 10 percent of the lowest amount of rent charged during the last 12 months. 60 days if rent increase is more than 10 percent of the lowest amount of rent charged during the last 12 months. (Civ. Code §§ 827(b)(2-3))
Late Fees: Allowed, but they must be “reasonable” and obey rent control laws, and are only enforceable if specified in the lease. (handbook)
Prepaid Rent: Landlord is allowed to collect one month’s pre-paid rent (first month’s rent) plus two or three months’ security deposit. (handbook)
Returned Check Fees: Equal to the actual bank fee. Or landlord can charge a flat “service” fee which is $25 for the first occurrence, and $35 for each occurrence thereafter. (handbook)
Tenant Allowed to Withhold Rent for Failure to Provide Essential Services (Water, Heat, etc.): Yes, because the property is under the “implied warranty of habitability.” (handbook)
Tenant Allowed to Repair and Deduct Rent: Yes, but not more than the cost of one month’s rent, and tenant cannot use this remedy more than twice in a 12-month period. (Civ. Code §§ 1942)
Landlord Allowed to Recover Court and Attorney’s Fees: Yes (Civ. Code §§ 789.3d)
Landlord Must Make a Reasonable Attempt to Mitigate Damages to Lessee, including an Attempt to Rerent: Yes (Civ. Code §§ 1951.2)
Notices and Entry:

Notice to Terminate Tenancy – Fixed End Date in Lease: No notice is needed as the lease simply expires. I recommend giving 60 days notice anyway.
Notice to Terminate Any Periodic Lease of a Year or More – If ALL tenants have lived there longer than a year, the landlord is required to give 60 days notice. (handbook)
Notice to Terminate a Periodic Lease – Month-to-Month: Landlord is required to give 30 days notice. Tenant is required to give 30 days notice. (Civ. Code §§ 1946)
Notice to Terminate a Periodic Lease – Week-to-week: Landlord is required to give 30 days notice. Tenant is required to give seven days notice. (handbook)
Notice to Terminate Lease due to Sale of Property: 30 days notice if ALL of the following are true: (Civ. Code §§ 1946.1) (handbook)
The landlord has contracted to sell the rental unit to another person who intends to occupy it for at least a year after the tenancy ends.
The landlord must have opened escrow with a licensed escrow agent or real estate broker, and
The landlord must have given 30-day notice no later than 120 days after opening escrow, and
The landlord must not previously have given you a 30-day or 60-day notice, and
The rental unit must be one that can be sold separately from any other dwelling unit. (For example, a house or a condominium can be sold separately from another dwelling unit.)
Notice of date/time of Move-Out Inspection: 48 hours (Civ. Code §§ 1950.5(f))
Eviction Notice for Nonpayment: Three days (Civ. Procedure Code §§ 1161(2))
Eviction Notice for Lease Violation: Three days to remedy lease violation or landlord can file eviction (Civ. Procedure Code §§ 1161(3)). Landlord can also terminate the lease for subletting without permission or illegal activity on the premise. (Civ. Procedure Code §§ 1161(4))
Required Notice before Entry: 24 hours (Civ. Code §§ 1954a)
Entry Allowed with Notice for Maintenance and Repairs (non-emergency): 24 hours (Civ. Code §§ 1954a)
Emergency Entry Allowed without Notice: Yes (Civ. Code §§ 1954b)
Entry Allowed During Tenant’s Extended Absence: No (Civ. Code §§ 1954)
Notice to Tenants for Pesticide Use: No Statute
Lockouts Allowed: No (Civ. Code §§ 789.3b(1))
Utility Shut-offs Allowed: No (Civ. Code §§ 789.3a)
Disclosures and Miscellaneous Notes:

Landlord Must Accept First Qualified Applicant – The 2012 Fair Housing Handbook of California says on page 24, “The landlord should take the time to check out the information and make a selection based on the first qualified applicant(s),” although there is no statute to support this. It’s recommended but not law.
Copy of Lease: Provide a copy of the rental agreement or lease to the tenant within 15 days of its execution by the tenant. (Civ. Code §§ 1962(4))
Utilities: Landlord must disclose if utilities that service tenant’s unit also service other areas (such as common foyers), and disclose the manner in which costs will be fairly divided up. (Civ. Code §§ 1940.9) Landlord must also provide a formula for dividing up utilities when utilities are split among multiple tenants.
San Francisco Utilities: Landlords must provide heat that can maintain a room temperature of 68 degrees. This level of heat must be provided for at least 13 hours, specifically from 5-11 AM and 3-10 PM.
Move-In Condition: Landlord is not required to provide a Move-In Condition Checklist for the Tenants to complete. However, it is recommended and extremely helpful should you ever go to court over physical damages to the dwelling.
Mold: Landlord must disclose, prior to lease signing, knowledge of any mold in the dwelling that exceeds safety limits or poses a health concern. Landlord must distribute a State Department of Health Services consumer handbook. (Health & Safety Code §§ 26147)
Demolishment: If a landlord or agent has applied for a permit to demolish a rental unit, the landlord must provide written notice to prospective tenants before accepting any money. (Civ. Code §§ 1940.6)
Ordinances: Landlord must disclose the locations of former ordinances in the neighborhood. (Civ. Code §§ 1940.7)
Sexual Offenders: Landlords are required to include the following language in the lease:
“Notice: Pursuant to Section 290.46 of the Penal Code, information about specified registered sex offenders is made available to the public via an Internet Web site maintained by the Department of Justice at http://www.meganslaw.ca.gov. Depending on an offender’s criminal history, this information will include either the address at which the offender resides or the community of residence and zip code in which he or she resides.” (Civ. Code §§ 2079.10a)
Pests Disclosures: At lease signing, Landlord must disclose any pests control contracts or disclosures received by pest control companies. If the premise is being treated for pests, landlord must disclose the pesticides used and their active ingredients, and any warnings associated with them. (Civ. Code §§ 1940.8, and Business and Professional Code §§ 8538)
Smoking: If the landlord limits or prohibits smoking, landlord must include a clause that specifies the areas on or in the premise where smoking is prohibited. (Civ. Code §§ 1947.5)
Proof of Domestic Violence Status: Landlord is entitled to proof/documentation of domestic violence status of the tenant if the tenant claims they are a victim. (Civ. Code §§ 1941.5, 1941.6, 1941.7)
Locks: Landlords must change the locks if requested by a domestic violence victim and proof of court order is given. (Civ. Code §§ 1941.5 and 1941.6)
Special Treatment: A victim may terminate a lease with 30 days notice and proof of victim status. (Civ. Code §§ 1941.7) A landlord cannot end or refuse to renew a tenancy based upon the fact that tenant or a member of tenant’s household is a victim of a documented act of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. (Civ. Procedure Code §§ 1161.3)
Abandoned Property: The rules are lengthy and specific, please read Civ. Code §§ 1965, 1980 to 1991.
Retaliation: Landlord must not terminate or refuse to renew a lease to a tenant who has filed an official complaint to a Government Authority, been involved in a tenant’s organization, or exercised a legal right. Courts will assume “retaliation” by landlord if negative action is taken on the tenant within 180 days (six months) after any of the prior tenant actions. (Civ. Code §§ 1942.5) It will also be considered retaliation if the landlord acts negatively within six months after any of the following:
Using the repair and deduct remedy, or telling the landlord that the tenant will use the repair and deduct remedy.
Complaining about the condition of the rental unit to the landlord, or to an appropriate public agency after giving the landlord notice.
Filing a lawsuit or beginning arbitration based on the condition of the rental unit.
Causing an appropriate public agency to inspect the rental unit or to issue a citation to the landlord.

Accurate Credit Bureau Texas Rental Laws

We are going to start with Texas (since our headquarters is in Texas) and post State by State Law daily…

Texas Rental Lease Law

Security Deposit:

Security Deposit Maximum: No statute
Security Deposit Interest: No statute
Separate Security Deposit Bank Account: No statute
Pet Deposits and Additional Fees: No statute
Deadline for Returning Security Deposit: 30 days
Require Written Description / Itemized List of Damages and Charges: Yes
Record Keeping of Deposit Withholdings: No statute
Lease, Rent & Fees:

Rent Increase Notice: No Statute
Late Fees: Reasonable amount allowed
Returned Check Fees: No statute
Tenant Allowed to Withhold Rent for Failure to Provide Essential Services (Water, Heat, etc.): No Statute
Tenant Allowed to Repair and Deduct Rent: Yes, but not more than 1 month’s rent or $500. Tenant must give prior notice to Landlord.
Landlord Allow to Recover Court and Attorney’s Fees: Yes
Termination due to Public Indecency: Immediate
Subletting: Prohibited without prior consent
Landlord Must Make a Reasonable Attempt to Re-rent if Tenant Vacates: Yes
Notices and Entry:

Notice to Terminate a Lease – Yearly Lease: at least 1 month
Notice to Terminate a Lease – Month-to-Month: at least 1 month but tenant and landlord can make agreements in writing that differ from this.
Notice of date/time of Move-Out Inspection: No statute
Eviction Notice for Nonpayment: 3 days to pay or move-out – Landlord can file for eviction 3 days after notice is received.
Eviction Notice for Lease Violation: No Statute
Required Notice before Entry: No Statute
Entry Allowed with Notice for Maintenance and Repairs (non-emergency): No Statute
Entry Allowed During Tenant’s Extended Absence: No Statute
Notice to Tenants for Pesticide Use: No Statute
Emergency Entry Allowed without Notice: No Statute
Disclosures and Miscellaneous Notes:

Landlord must identify, in writing, the name and address of the property owner.
Landlord must identify, in writing, the name and address of the property manager.
Landlord can remove personal property of a tenant who has abandoned the property 30 days after sending postmarked certified notice, and if no one has claimed the items. (Sec. 92.014.5)
Landlord must inform the Tenant, in writing, that they have the right to “Repair and deduct or the option to terminate the lease”, if the Landlord fails to make repairs that directly affect the health or safety of an ordinary tenant.
Landlord must inform the Tenant, in writing, that they may break a lease early in special circumstances involving sexual assault, sexual abuse, or domestic violence.
Landlords can require tenants to provide proof of domestic violence status before releasing tenants from a lease.
Court Related:

Small Claims Court Limits: $10,000
Collection agents or agencies, money brokers, and moneylenders are not allowed to use in small claims court.
Business Licenses:

Business License required: No state-wide statute, but local cities and counties may have regulations and requirements. Check with your local governing authority.

To download a rental lease or rental application go to http://www.accuratecredit.com/html/freerentalapplications.html

To screen a prospective tenant go to http://www.accuratecredit.com

Accurate Credit Landlords Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite Your Tenants!

After a lengthy bed bug infestation twenty-one tenants are suing their landlord in Concord, California. Residents have long complained that the apartment building was infested with bed bugs, along with a host of other pests and utility problems. However, little has been done by their local government to help them. Despite California state law mandating that the landlord is responsible for fixing infestation issues, the residents were unable to get code enforcers to help them out. Now the dispute involves city and county officials trying to determine who is responsible for getting the landlord to comply.

Local news report videos show the horrific extent of the infestation, from live bed bugs crawling on window drapes to stains left on the ceiling of apartments. The residents have been able to get a tenants advocacy organization to help them sue, but while they proceed with their case the infestation is still ongoing. In this case many conventional bedbug treatments haven’t been enough to help: tenants have had their apartments treated by a pest control agency numerous times, and many have used encasement’s on their mattresses and other furniture to try and mitigate the problem. Unfortunately, if all apartments in the building aren’t treated at the same time it’s all too easy for bed bugs to re-infest other units.

What You Can Do
If your apartment or condominium is infested we recommend taking the following steps:

Look up local landlord/tenant law to see if your landlord is responsible for providing treatment. You can also check this list of state bed bug laws.

Document the problem. Take pictures of any signs of infestation, and complain to your landlord in writing (with a copy for yourself).

Accurate Credit 10 Tips for Landlords Renting to New Tenants

  1. Not running adequate checks on a potential tenant.
    As anxious as you may be to get a tenant in and paying rent, it’s not worth rushing ahead without checking your tenant’s credentials first. Use a rental application form that will provide you with adequate information http://www.accuratecredit.com/html/freerentalapplications/html ,pay the money necessary to obtain a comprehensive background check and credit report. (to check on a history of late payments, delinquent accounts, etc.) http://www.accuratecredit.com and take the time to verify references including employers and former landlords.Even if the tenant is “desperate” to move in and can make the deposit amount immediately, check out their background first. Don’t allow yourself to feel rushed or pressured into making a potentially costly mistake.
  2. Thinking the property will always be rented.
    Before closing on a property you need to do your own financial due diligence and ensure that you can pay the mortgage (if you’re taking on a loan) in the event that you have months with no tenant paying rent. Don’t risk potential foreclosure and financial ruin because you failed to do a simple cash flow analysis and maintain sufficient funds to cover the mortgage payments when renters are few and far between.
  3. Underestimating the cost of repairs or ongoing property maintenance.
    In order to keep tenants interested in (and paying for) the property you will need to maintain it. Make sure you’re charging enough in rent to at least help cover a portion of ongoing maintenance costs (i.e. painting, cleaning and carpet cleaning between tenants). Also plan on having to pull money either out of the business or your own pocket in the event that you don’t have the cash needed to make major one-time repairs (such as repairing structural damage, replacing appliances, etc.). You might consider getting liability insurance in addition to your property insurance.
  4. Viewing it as a hobby.
    Owning rental properties is a business and in order to turn a profit you’ll need to operate it as such. That means establishing separate bank accounts for deposits and expenses, using a bookkeeping system and consulting a tax professional to ensure you are correctly handling (and paying!) taxes on your business.If you don’t set yourself up with the necessary resources and relationships you will most likely end up losing money. (Learn how fixing a few pipes can be more profitable tax-wise than adding a new roof.
  5. Relying on a handshake.
    In business you can’t rely on promises. For your own legal protection it’s essential that your tenants sign a lease agreement to reside in the property and ensure that he or she understands the terms of the contract. If you run into problems with your tenant you will need written, binding documentation (i.e. a lease) in order for the judge to make a ruling. You may downloas and alter a residential lease at http://www.accuratecredit.com/html/freerentalapplications/html
  6. Asking illegal interview questions.
    You don’t want to run the risk of giving a potential tenant sufficient grounds to sue you for discrimination by asking the wrong questions during the screening interview. The Fair Housing Act of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 requires that you cannot deny a tenant’s application based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, handicap or family status (i.e. if they plan on having children). Learn more about federal and state fair housing laws http://www.accuratecredit.com/html/faircreditreportingact.html
    Neglecting tenants.
    The home(s) you are renting out are your responsibility. If you do not regularly check in with your tenants and on the condition of the property you will have no one to blame but yourself if something goes wrong. However make sure that you are not violating your state’s laws regarding tenant privacy before stopping by the property unannounced. You may inadvertently give them the right to sue you or be released from the terms of your lease agreement.
  7. Not meeting state and local housing codes.
    As a landlord you’re required to make sure the property meets health and safety standards. If you don’t take care of your end of the legal bargain your tenants may have grounds to break the terms of your lease agreement, potentially sue you and even to be legally entitled to compensation for damage or injury due to your neglect.
  8. Delaying an eviction.
    Not beginning eviction proceedings as soon as legally possible can be a very costly mistake. If you run into problems with a tenant and are unsure about your rights or how to proceed, contact an eviction attorney as soon as possible.
  9. Not enforcing lease terms.
    If you outlined that late rent payments would incur a penalty, charge it. If you noted that no pets are allowed and your new tenant buys a Great Dane, enforce the penalty. If your tenants realize that you lax about the terms of the lease they will likely follow suit. Set – and enforce – the standard you want upheld.
  10. Not writing it down.
    It’s essential that you keep written documentation of interactions with your tenants in the event that you ever need to take him/her to court. Note phone conversations and keep copies of emails, voicemails or text messages, etc. to be able to support your allegations.

Accurate Credit Bureau Landlord Responsibility

A landlord’s responsibility to his tenants is to provide a safe, functional living space. Before a tenant moves in, 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, paint (lead-free), lighting, ventilation and structural integrity. You may download a free rental lease to use from http://www.accuratecredit.com/html/freerentalapplications.html Many cities additionally require safety measures like dead bolts on all exterior doors, smoke alarms and fire extinguishers in each unit.

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 liability insurance.

Not all landlord-tenant arguments end in a lawsuit. But if a tenant gets frustrated with how long it takes his landlord to fix the dishwasher he has several options. In most states in the United States, he can legally withhold his rent until the repair is made. He may also have the right to arrange the repairs himself and subtract the cost from his next rent check. In some states, if things get really bad, the tenant can treat the failure to respond as a breach of contract and move out in the middle of the lease.

A landlord can protect himself by documenting exactly when he receives all notifications of a problem with the property and when he took action to resolve it. 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.