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What responsibilities does a landlord have to their property?

People who are landlords have a responsibility to ensure that the premises they own and rent to others does not pose any safety and health issues which could result in injuries to others. Ensuring that their premises are safe goes hand-in-hand with ensuring that the property is properly maintained, and if a safety or health issue has been identified that the necessary repairs have been made.

Additionally, landlords have to make sure that they are in compliance with all existing safety and building codes. Building and safety codes may vary from city to city, thus it is important for the property owners to be aware of what the applicable codes are in the city they own their property. For instance, if a property owner rents apartments, that property owner must ensure that each apartment has smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. How many are required on each floor and in each apartment will vary, depending on the square footage and the safety codes in the city where the property is located.

Some more involved responsibilities of property owners include surveying their property to ensure that it is not contaminated with mold, lead or asbestos. If a property owner during a renovation or upgrade finds out that there is lead and/or asbestos on-site which will be disturbed during the process, the property owner must take all the necessary steps to ensure that the hazard is minimized or abated. There are specific state guidelines on lead and asbestos abatement that the landlord must follow. In most cases, a licensed professional will have to be hired.

Other landlord responsibilities include having adequate lighting in stairwells and fire exits. Routine property maintenance is also an important aspect of landlords and property owners ensuring that their premises is safe and will not cause injuries.

Source: About Money, "Landlord's Responsibilities to Their Property," Accessed June 15, 2015

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