Notes & updates: None currently.

Minimize Financial Losses & Legal Problems Related to Repairs, Maintenance

Landlords who maintain their units in good condition may circumvent many problems. Here’s how:

  • Define responsibilities for maintenance and repair in the lease.
  • Inspect the premises with the tenants and fix problems before new tenants move in.
  • Encourage tenants to report heating, plumbing, weatherproofing, or safety and security problems promptly—whether in the tenant’s unit or in common areas.
  • Keep a log of repair requests and tenant complaints with details about how and when problems are fixed.
  • Handle urgent repairs immediately.
  • Take care of major inconveniences, such as a plumbing or heating problem, within 24 hours.
  • Respond to minor problems within 48 hours.
  • Always keep tenants informed of when and how the repairs will be made, and the reasons for any delays.
  • Give tenants a checklist bi-annually to report safety hazards or maintenance problems.
  • Use the checklist to inspect rental units annually.

Landlord Responsibilities for Tenant Safety, Security

Landlords have some degree of legal duty to protect tenants from potential assailants and thieves and from the intentional bad acts of fellow tenants. Landlords must protect the neighborhood from illegal activities of tenants, such as dealing drugs. These legal responsibilities arise from building codes, ordinances, statutes, and court decisions.

Limiting Responsibility for Crimes

Preventive measures are the best protection against possible liabilities from criminal behavior by tenants and non-tenants. The following ideas may limit criminal activity and reduce the risk of liability of the property owner if criminal activity does occur.

  • Exceed state and local laws relevant to the rental property, such as requirements for deadbolt locks, good lighting, or window locks.
  • Assess the criminal profile in the neighborhood and employ a security system that provides reasonable protection to the tenants in individual rental units and common areas. Local police departments, insurance companies, and private security firms can supply advice on security measures. Discuss potential rental increases with the tenants. People will often be willing to pay for more security.
  • Educate tenants about the crime statistics in the neighborhood; detail security measures and limitations.
  • Maintain the rental property and regularly inspect it to discover and remedy security problems.
  • Immediately address complaints regarding dangerous situations, suspicious activities, or malfunctioning security devices immediately. Failing to may result in greater liability if a tenant is injured by a criminal act after a relevant complaint is made.

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Areas of Representation

We represent clients in the following areas (and around all of Minnesota):