Tips for Property Owners:
Property owners can often overlook the potential for losses to or on their property, but it is something that needs to be considered. When a property owner understands the risks, they can be managed better. Some scenarios to consider include:
- Fire- A grease fire starts in a restaurant in your building and spreads damaging tenant’s contents.
- Third-party injury or illness- A patron slips and falls in the parking lot, spraining her ankle.
- Vacancy- Your unoccupied building is vandalized, and there is theft of stored equipment.
- Natural perils- A tornado sweeps through town, damaging your building and your tenant’s goods.
How can you reduce your risk?
A well designed lease agreement can assist in transferring responsibility for payment due to bodily injury of property damage to the legally responsible party. When evaluating your current lease or other formal contract, check to ensure your agreement includes these:
- Drafted by knowledgeable counsel and reviewed by your attorney signed by all tenants
- Authorizes you to develop, change and enforce rules and regulations for the premises
- Clearly defines which areas you control and which tenants controls
- Contains provisions regarding use of hazardous substances, dispensing of liquor and other activities that increase the risk of loss
- Defines the maintenance obligations of all parties while specifying the scope of the operations and the steps you will take if the tenant defaults on these obligations
- Some property owners require their tenants to hold a Renters Insurance policy
While it is your duty as the property owner to live up to your obligations, it is also smart to make sure your tenants take responsibility for their actions and premises upkeep. By having a clear cut, easy to understand legal binding lease or contract, everyone understands what is expected of them and you at the property you own and who is responsible in the event of a loss.
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