Updated: May 13
By Dawn Pelikan of Kings III
Your legal liability as a property manager and/or building owner may vary from state to state, but, generally speaking, many in the industry face a core of common liabilities. What it usually boils down to in all cases is the contract you have with your tenants. Each lease agreement should be crystal clear regarding each party's expectations and how you or they may be rendered with or without liability in certain situations. If you don't have this spelled out clearly, the court may take a different view of your defense. Of course, none of this is news to you.
Pay special attention to these common causes of property manager and building owner liabilities and act accordingly.
1. Code Compliance
Of course, all property managers are held liable for code compliance and must follow all applicable property laws. This includes everything from fire prevention to plumbing dimensions to construction standards. Code enforcement officers may visit the property (sometimes unannounced) to make sure all rules are being followed. You may be cited for a number of violations, including:
Environmental, fire, or health hazards
Unsafe building conditions
The ultimate goal is to protect tenants from danger and preserve the property values of a community.
Most property managers and building owners are all-too-aware of the many layers of codes they must follow to operate a property legally. There are different codes for different types of commercial buildings, from office to multifamily. In many cases, codes are local and statewide, but there are some federal code regulations as well.
On the federal level:
The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federally enforced code that lists the required compliance for building access for disabled persons.