I bought my first investment last year and successfully rented it in 15 days. I felt like I found a good renter so all is set and what can go wrong till the renter slipped in the patio. She said it was a rainy day and floor was slippery. I went to check on her and she had some stitches in the back of her head. She didn't ask for anything and I never thought anything about it. Today she sent an email with an hint to file a claim and suggesting that there are tons of medical bills that she don't want to pay. She hasn't come out to say how much she wants or what she wants but I want to be prepared to handle this situation in as professional manner as I can.
I was about to get ready to buy another property in another state but now I am a little nervous and feel that may be I am not equipped to handle this landlord business yet and may be i need to educate myself better.
Anyway has anybody had any similar situation in the past? How did you deal with it? What's the suggestion?
First, always carry insurance on the property (I hope you did).
Second, I can see how this would be nervewracking. But I would just sit tight. You would only be held liable if there was something on the patio that was your responsibility to maintain. Start building your case. For instance, if you can somehow get it in writing (email) that it was rainy that day and the patio was wet, that is much different than a collection of water due to some defect in the patio that you should have fixed.
"Hinting" is different than actually being served with summons and complaint. As you mentioned, continue to be professional. Continue carrying out your duties as a landlord.
I would not let this deter you from buying another property.
IMO only. I'm not an attorney and this does not constitute legal advice. I just watch too many People's Court and a lot of these cases occur. That's why I invest in commercial.
I agree with Daniel. I'll add that, you should look into asset protection measures. Creating a separate business entity, etc. Consult an attorney.
I agree. This is exactly what insurance is for. Hopefully you're covered adequately. If it were me, I'd actually be proactive and call your insurance company to find out how this claim would be handled, what your total coverage is and how soon a claim needs to be filed. If the slip and fall is over a year old, things could get interesting, but if it's less than a year old (or coming up on it), I'd find out about any magic dates that are necessary and then tell the tenant that if she is going to make a claim, she needs to do so by such and such a date. Work WITH your tenant on getting her claim taken care of, instead of against her.
Even if you did nothing wrong, slip and falls happen all the time and are a very common claim and are also commonly paid out by insurance companies.
Not legal advice.
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