A landlord is responsible for making sure you get a habitable rental property, meaning that the unit should be physically sound and facilitated with water, electricity, and heating services.
Sometimes, few situations can arise, making your habitable rental unit temporarily unfit for living. This usually occurs because of severe repairs or installations, natural calamities, or other unexpected significant problems. In such circumstances, tenants will often need to spend a few days at a hotel till the damages have been restored.
While situations like these are rare, they can ultimately occur anytime. So, what exactly are a landlord’s responsibilities for such cases, and when does a landlord have to pay for a tenant’s hotel room? Well, you are about to find that out.
When will a Tenant acquire Hotel Bills?
In the unforeseen incident of a fire, faulty or leaky pipes, or basically any other unexpected emergency situation that can make a rental space unfit to live in, it becomes necessary for the tenants to move out for some time. The majority of people stay in hotels till the work is done and the unit is revamped.
Unfortunately, tenants and landlords typically do not discuss anything regarding the relocation or hotel bills until something significant actually occurs. A few tenants expect their landlords to compensate them for the hotel expenses for as many days as it takes to repair the unit.
They mistakenly assume the insurance policy of their landlords will take care of their relocation expenses. Also, they might think that they will automatically be set up in hotels of their personal preferences, which the landlord will pay the bill for since they are not living in the rental unit; these assumptions are bound to cause conflicts.
In reality, the landlord’s insurance does not cover any expenditures associated with the temporary relocation of tenants, nor do they cover their damaged belongings. Still, a few renter’s insurance policies cover the expenses of both for the tenant. This is why landlords recommend tenants to have an active renter’s insurance policy.
When are Landlords responsible for paying for a Temporary Relocation?
Typically, there is no legal law or rules stated when a landlord is held responsible for covering the hotel expenses. They are not bound to pay for the hotel bills of a tenant who was put out of place when the incidents were out of their control. This can be reinforced in a few ways.
The most fundamental method is to incorporate a clause in the landlord and tenant’s lease agreement. The clause should explicitly state in written form regarding what will happen when a rental unit becomes uninhabitable due to unforeseen circumstances.
So if the rental unit is unfit for living for just a couple of days, the landlords should prorate the tenants’ rent for as many days as the space remains vacant. In the meantime, tenants will be responsible for making their own lodging arrangements.
However, suppose any issue came out, where something was done or not done by the landlord. In that case, the tenants can file a petition for hotel recompense via small claims court or directly.
If the unit remains not fit to live in for an unspecified period, several states want the landlord to free the tenants from the lease contract and proportionately assess the rent that has already been paid.
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Regarding tenant’s hotel room bills
Though the landlords are not commonly responsible for paying for a tenant’s hotel room, they must ensure they receive their deposited amounts.
In some instances, landlords tend to schedule things such as quick structural remodeling or fumigation that might call for the tenants to vacate the rental premises for some time. In these circumstances, landlords will usually bear the tenant’s hotel room expenses for limited days. This is because they feel it is not worth losing such tenants.
Hence, they are willing to pay for a few tenants and accommodate their hotel living expenses just to keep them. In other circumstances, they might prorate their rent for the days when the unit was in an uninhabitable state. It is entirely the landlord’s decision.
The Responsibility of a Landlord for Hotel Expenses
In addition to reimbursements and liability for destroyed or damaged properties, the simplest way to manage emergency relocation issues is that landlords should include a specific clause in the agreement that tenants should carry a renter’s insurance.
The lease agreement should also incorporate a clause regarding what should be done when the rental unit becomes uninhabitable. It is undoubtedly a good idea to place specific time limitations regarding remodeling, fumigations, and repairs.
For instance, the lease could mention that if the rental space remains unfit for living for 5 days or more, both parties no longer bear any commitment to the contract without penalty.
The landlords should prorate the rent fairly because if a tenant’s unit becomes uninhabitable and has paid rent for it in advance, they deserve to be compensated. Still, that compensation typically does not apply to pay for a tenant’s hotel room, especially in the case when their renter’s insurance policy will do it.