by Marc Courtenay –
With a title like this you may think I’m about to encourage you get a bodyguard or a permit-to-carry.
While neither of those ideas are bad ones, I’m talking about reviewing your personal and business insurance. I’m also encouraging you to know your legal liabilities and your rights.
Concerning insurance, this is a good time of year to make sure of your limits of coverage, what your deductibles are, and how your insurance carrier ranks concerning claims and customer satisfaction.
It’s also a good idea to have your insurance agent do an annual review; both from the business side of your life and your personal coverage like your home, auto and umbrella policies.
Do you need disability insurance and how about life insurance? Every year you wait the higher the premiums will be for the same amounts of protection.
You’re in for some big surprises. How do I know? Because the insurance laws in each state have changed in the past year in numerous ways, you’re about to update your own level of awareness.
There are some forms of insurance protection that you don’t have or if you do they most likely need to be fine-tuned. Again this is because many new laws have been approved to either strengthen or weaken rental property owner’s rights.
In California alone there were at least 70 legislative bills introduced in 2012 alone that directly impacted rental housing. And some significantly limited the activities and prerogatives of landlords.
Ignorance of the Law is No Excuse
It is often erroneously believed that what you don’t know can’t hurt you. The opposite is true, and there are legions of lawyers, legislators and law enforcement personnel to make sure you find out firsthand.
The courts are jammed with thousands of cases in each state of property owners and managers who filed Unlawful Detainer cases seeking to terminate rental agreements.
The process of evicting residents isn’t getting less complicated. Yet this is a legal topic that is easily overlooked in our fast-paced property management responsibilities.
Again laws are morphing and renters-rights lobbies are forming. Recent reforms can and often do delay evictions and can even make them more expensive.
That’s why you need to know your rights and the rights of your clients. Be an advocate for justice and protection for your owners and your residents.
It builds trust and strengthens the integrity of your reputation.
Fines, penalties and other punitive actions can be avoided through a careful annual update of the latest rules and regulations. Check with and join your local apartment owners association and the Better Business Bureau. They often provide e-newsletter and updates on relevant issues.
The times we live in make it imperative that we consider our legal risks, the financial implications and if we know enough about the insurance we need.
Property insurance as well as the new rent default insurance called Aon Rent Protect should be considered. Offered by Aon (www.aonrentprotect.com), the insurance offers landlords coverage in the event of a rent default.
The insurance also covers up to $1,000 for certain legal expenses in the event you or your clients must file for an eviction.
The California Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R.) has backed the Aon Rent Protect product. “Aon Rent Protect is a cash flow safety net for residential landlords…” said Robert Baily, Chairman of Real Estate Business Services, a subsidiary of the C.A.R.
Considering the increased possibility of eviction proceedings going to trial, funds for legal proceedings help landlords maintain a level of preparedness.
Knowing that you’re protected gives you and your clients the peace of mind that makes doing business that much more pleasant.