What Are the Basic Security Duties Imposed by Local Ordinances?

Most building and housing codes adopted by local governments have specific rules designed to minimize the likelihood of crimes in residential leasing properties. These rules may mandate safety features like peepholes, fixed bolts and specific types of lighting that are required for rental properties.

On the other hand, some local ordinances give landlords little guidance, only requiring "clean and safe" housing, but not specifying the meaning of these terms. If your local regulations are not specific, you need to do some additional work and assess the crime situation in your area before implementing security measures that provide reasonable protection for your tenants.

Take the following situation as an example: the housing code for a city in which a landlord owns a rental property includes several sections that cover the minimum standards for apartment. One of the sections stipulates that parking garages and parking lots should be kept "clean and safe". The garage in the landlord's apartment is dark (because there are not enough lights) and is easily accessible from the street. When a tenant was attacked by a person entering from the street, the landlord was sued and found responsible for the tenant’s injuries. Make sure you are proactive and take responsibility when assessing potentially dangerous situations for your tenants.