Rental properties can be full of opportunities for accidents, injuries, and larger-scale disasters – especially when a landlord is careless or negligent. Unfortunately, not all landlords and property owners are responsible. Many try to cut costs by neglecting basic property maintenance. Others don’t respond to tenants’ concerns or needs. Keep an eye out for these five early signs of a negligent landlord in Omaha to avoid finding yourself in a dangerous living situation.
Poorly Maintained Common Areas
First impressions matter. When touring a potential home or apartment for the first time, look at the state of the property’s common areas, such as shared courtyards, mailrooms, laundry rooms, hallways, and staircases. The landlord is responsible for maintaining the safety of these spaces. A landscape or common area that is overgrown has old or broken furniture, or appears cluttered is a sign of a negligent landlord or building owner.
Units in a State of Disrepair
It is also important for a landlord to take adequate care of individual rental units. You should always tour a prospective home or apartment in person before signing a lease. Photographs provided by the landlord or a rental website may be outdated and inaccurate. The space should be clean, cared for, and empty. There should not be any items or damage left behind by a previous tenant. It should also have all of the basic necessities that a landlord is required to provide by law, including water and heat.
Lack of Communication
Lack of communication is a type of landlord negligence that can lead to problems down the road, such as living with a health or safety hazard for a long time before the landlord responds to your complaints and remedies the problem. The leasing agreement should also be clear and straightforward in its language – not ambiguous.
Pay attention to how well the landlord communicates with you during the application process. If you don’t receive a response to your phone calls or emails for days at a time, this could be a preview of what it would be like living in the unit. If you can, ask existing tenants who already live on the property about the landlord’s response times for a realistic idea of what to expect if you choose to live there.
Negligent Screening or Security
One responsibility that a landlord in Nebraska has is to screen tenants before renting to them. Be wary of a landlord or property management company that does not require a background check to apply for the unit. Background checks are designed to keep tenants safe from criminal activity. The building should also have some kind of pet rules in place to prevent tenants from moving in with dangerous dogs. A prudent landlord will use measures to keep residents safe, such as:
- Tenant screening
- Gate with security guard
- Parking lot lights
- Surveillance cameras in common areas
- Doors and windows that lock
- Replacement locks for new tenants
Your safety in a new home or apartment is paramount. Ask what measures the landlord has in place to reasonably ensure your safety as a tenant. If the answer is fuzzy or doesn’t include any basic security principles, look elsewhere, as this is a sign of a negligent landlord and dangerous premises.
A Deal That’s Too Good to Be True
If the rental property you found is listed at the lowest price point in the neighborhood, there is probably a reason. Be wary of a deal that seems too good to be true – it most likely is. The landlord might be desperate to rent out an undesirable property. An extremely low rent could be a sign that the property is in a state of disrepair, has negative reviews or that the entire thing is a scam. Do your research to determine reasonable rent and safety deposit amounts. Don’t be afraid to ask the landlord questions about the price before you sign.
If you get injured on a rental property due to landlord negligence, contact a premises liability lawyer in Omaha for a free consultation.