Public Liability: Avoiding Lawsuits As A Real Estate Investor
You have the money, and you have found a perfect property to add to your portfolio. What could go wrong? Apart from the obvious, the foremost thing real estate investors have to consider is the issue of public liability. The general public may gain access or may live in the building, which means you have to take precautions. Otherwise, a lawsuit could signal the end of your fledgling investment career. If you are unsure which bases to cover, the following will help. Here’s what property investors need to know regarding lawsuits.
Have Disabled Access
Take a look at the building: are there ramps? What about disabled toilets? Is there an elevator to get from the ground low to the highest level of the property? The answers should be yes, yes and yes, but the reality is far different. Even in 2017, lots of residential and public buildings don’t have disabled access or facilities. Apart from being immoral, the company Osterhout Berger Disability Law points out it is illegal. Should a case go to court, the defendant is bound to win because you have not adhered to the rules. If it doesn’t already, make sure the property has the right amenities before it’s ready for the public.
Hire A Property Manager
Nowadays, investors don’t flip properties but rent them out to make money. Over a long period, it’s a no-brainer because the rent pays off the mortgage. The only problem is dealing with tenants. As the landlord, it is your job to make sure everything in the property follows the codes and conducts set by the local authority. For example, a building has to have a fire exit and an alarm in case it is set ablaze. Although it doesn’t sound clever, outsourcing the responsibilities to a third-party is often best. That way, they take care of the health and safety issues and take on some of the legal obligation.
Things happen and people sue. Unfortunately, it’s a way of life in this day and age. Hopefully, the justice system will see it for what it is and side with you in court. However, there are still fees to pay should a case go as far as a judge and jury. Because court expenses are high and cases drag on for months and years, the bill can be astronomical. Thankfully, an insurance company will pick up the tab as long as you have a comprehensive policy. A tip: make sure it covers tenant disputes.
Section Off The Property
Lots of investors buy a house or an apartment that needs thousands of dollars of renovations. Of course, it takes years to refurbish and the property stands there derelict until the work is complete. Sadly, thieves or homeless people may see it as a perfect target. Aside from being a pain in the backside, they can file suit should there be an accident. Because you are the owner, it’s your job to maintain a safe environment. When that isn’t possible, make it almost impossible for people to enter.
Hopefully, these tips will save you a fortune in court fees in the future.